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Making the switch from teaching to teaching assistant

Discussion in 'Primary' started by beesknees71, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. I worked as a TA when my daughter was younger. I enjoyed leaving the job behind at 3.30, though there was a certain amount of frustration. Now I'm back full time teaching I'm wondering if it was the right decision to return. My now teenage daughter does complain about me never being available to discuss things with, and i don't really have weekends any more. I think part-time teaching would be the best solution. I think you might want to give it a bit more than 2 years before you make any drastic decisions though. I hope it works out well for you.
  2. I completely understand! I was in a similar situation with my last job..the expectation was far too much for anyone with a family...management lived for school and expected everyone else to! Plus..as someone commented....It's not to do with not having a backbone...it's about prioritising what is important in your life. I have done many jobs over the years and am in my 5th year of teaching now..its the hardest job I've ever done but the most rewarding....the pay really isn't that fantastic considering the hours we put in! Plus I think most teachers are perfectionists and want to do their best for the children...and for those who have them...their families. This job can make you ill and it really is not worth being miserable at school and home. I changed my priorities..no job is worth losing your family and you! The resentment grows and if you've nothing else in your life then fine..the job just takes over but it's a choice you can make! I made the choice to go part-time (perm) and for the last two years I've loved it...I have time to do planning etc when my son is at school on my days off and although I do still work some evenings and weekends I am so much more relaxed and can more easily 'do it all' and keep everyone happy including me. I can choose to do extra hours too! Plus the money is much better than a TA's would be...and you can continue with your professional development and keep up to date...so my advice...don't give up (maybe it's the pressure from the school too!!!) look for a part time job and enjoy!! I even get some 'me' time to go to the gym on Fridays and keep up with housework!!
    Good luck...don't waste all that hard work, make it work for you!
  3. Work life balance is incredibly important, and spending time with your family should be your 1st priority. That said your children will get older and you may regret making the switch. I am an LSA and whilst I absolutely love my job, which is in no way as stressful as a teacher, the salary is far from great. We only get paid for 45.3 weeks of the year and assemblies and am/pm breaks are unpaid. I believe HLTA positions also have the same salary structure. The other thing to consider would be job security as everyone knows that if budget cuts have to be made, support staff would be the first to go. Good luck with making your decission, it has to be your choice and don't let anyone tell you you have no backbone!
  4. I completed my NQT year and then decided that I just couldnt juggle full time teaching with 2 children and a home to run and a husband who works long hours. Like previous posts, I decided I had to make a choice and that my family had to come first (and remember your children won't be around forever so it may only be a short-term arrangement). It's not because I lack backbone ... I am a dedicated, conscientious and hardworking teacher who cares about the 32 children in my class but also my 2 children at home. In the end, I discussed my concerns with my understanding head teacher and we agreed for me to reduce to a 4 day week. I have been doing this for just over a year now and it has worked fantastically well. I get the children off to school, clean the house and then spend the day planning and doing school work. I would be lying if I said this has completely eradicated the need for any extra hours in the evenings and at weekends especially at particular times in the academic year. I spend a couple of nights working and Sunday afternoons working (though am getting better at prioritising and reducing this workload) but I feel much happier and I know my family are happy to have mum/wife back. I worked so hard to get to where I am now that I didnt want to just throw in the towel and give that up but on the other hand, my health was suffering and there were times when I believed I would be a divorced teacher and mum of 2. As my children are at secondary school now, my 4 day week works really well. I feel I am a better teacher for having that work life balance. So, my message to you is to be brave and talk to your Head - about reducing your hours as a teacher - if you don't ask you don't get! Even if you trial something for a year and then reflect on how well it has worked for you. I was amazed at how understanding my HT was about reducing my hours. As I did it not long into my 2nd year of teaching - we weren't dependent on the full time salary either so its worked really well. Good luck, but at the end of the day ... do what's best for YOU and your family. No-one else can make that choice for you. Hope it all works out in the end.
  5. I am now in my 20th year of teaching having raised 3 children with my husband doing most of the nurturing due to work demands. He has worked for the NHS for the past 30 years but unlike our profession has rarely had to complete or plan for work in his own time. I therefore feel that you would be making the correct decision by becoming a TA or better still leave the profession (temporarily) and take up a less demanding post-graduate job.
    Good luck and remember you will not gain any recognition in teaching for the extra work you put in to the detriment of your own family.
  6. You have to do what feels right for you. I left my full time teaching post at Xmas 2009 - I have worked 2 mornings as a TA & do very little supply work as there is not much in my area - most schools where I live use their higher level TA's for supply cover. I left to get my life back & my health & my level of fitness. Due to sitting doing paper work I think people in a coma are fitter than me!! Good luck whatever you do.
  7. In reply to beesknees71:

    Dear Beesknees71

    I have been a teacher for 17 years. My friends outside teaching ask me why I am always working. What is it that I do? they ask me. I did not get much time for a social life as my work commitment took over. Family very rarely saw me. But, foolishly or not I feel teaching is a vocation and I continued to teach and I am still in it.

    I nearly had a nervous breakdown at one time because my work load and hours were too long. I was head of department and here is my daily routine that I did for 5 years:

    8.50 Start work (working break and lunch to help with homwework or for detentions)
    3.30 Kids went home
    3.30-4.30 Nap in staff room (any meetings deprived me of the nap)
    5.30 -730 or 8pm Paperwork (evaluations of the 4 lessons that day, ringing parents for troublesome students, updating Schemes of Work on a daily basis after teaching those lessons, goining through syllabus of KS4 because the government had changed things YET AGAIN, oh and a bit of marking)
    8pm chucked out of school by caretaker.
    8.30 home. Wash ,cook, wash up and get ready for bed.
    9.30- 10pm rest.
    10pm-Midnight- Marking KS3
    Midnight- Bed

    8.50am Start work

    Weekends, Marking KS4 and A level essays as they take too long to mark. Sat evening off as need to sleep.

    Sleep most of Sunday
    Pre-Ofsted preparation:
    During the working week: Midnight-3am Updating Departmental handbook( crossing t's and dottingi's)

    I was often comatozed by the hoildays and regularly fell ill. It is amazing that will power can stop you being ill in term time.

    THEN on 1st March 2000 David Blunkett announced in the House of Commons that teachers must work harder. I cried and left the country. I taught for 8 years in Spain and have just returned to the UK because the recession is hitting Spain bad and the number of ex-pat kids are falling in International schools in that area.

    My life is teaching and I am good at it (i apologize for blowing my own trumpet there...ha.) but I now feel that things may not be any better in Englands schools. I am seriously thinking of leaving the profession. I don't hink I can face the long hours again. Then you get wise guys who are not teachers deriding the short working day and long holidays that teachers get. I don't think I have the energy to argue with them anymore.

    I hope the next Tory government helps education...its virtually on its knees.

    Good luck Beesknees 71. I pray for the saving of our profession and the return of sanity.
  8. PS. I tabulated all the times in my previous post, but when I sent it, the whole thing was lumped together into one block-paragraph. Sorry if it is hard to read.
  9. It's nothing to do with having backbone. Yes, you studied hard to get the job and it takes a lot of courage and honesty to wonder if you would have a better quality of life as a TA. Which is more important to you - proving you're not a wimp or having a good family life? Maybe it's something you could go back to. hope this helps.
  10. Inky - your attitude reminds me why I decided to leave this miserable profession. Have a problem? Well you shouldn't! You're a teacher! Get on with it.
  11. Establishing oneself in any professional career is hard work. Teaching is perhaps harder in the early days than most other professions, as there is the added issue of constantly producing new lessons and new resources, as well as learning about the processes etc. I advise students and teachers that the first two or three years in teaching are the most demanding, after that there is a bank or resources and teaching ideas to reutilise. I also remember in my early days of teaching, making mistakes such as thoroughly marking every single piece of work. A wise Deputy advised me that I would be driving myself to an early grave unless I was less assiduous. Maybe it would be worth talking over your workload with an experienced colleague to see whether they do as much work as you - and if not, why not. If I were you I'd stick it out for a couple more years - I'm sure that you will find that things have improved enormously by then.
  12. I agree that giving up a promising teaching career would be a waste of real talent. All teaching jobs are hard work,and you may well be very frustratedif you ended up supporting a teacher who was not as good as you are! I'd suggest looking at where you spend your time,if you are being too perfect-How about planning with a colleague & sharing ideas & plans? If you are worried, stressed & not sleeping well, thuings get out of proportion & on top of you.
    I've taught for 30 years & often felt like giving up- but I love being with children & staff, & having a laugh & relaxing is the key to real enjoyment in teaching. It isn't meant to be no fun-Introduce siome games & active learning into the class- bring in some wordsearches or play hesitation to get ideas going- you will see that teaching is a fantastic profession but you can't push yourself too hard. Thank goodness for Teachernet, the TES & all the helpful sharing websites where lesson plans & ideas are trhere for the taking so you don't have to re-invent the wheel!
    The less you see the classroom as a battlefield & the more as an exciting place to explore & find out alongside the children, the better life will be. You can, of course, go part time, but i wonder then if you'll spend your days off marking & preparing -so you'll be working as hard on half the salary.
    Find a supportive staff member to talk to, see your union rep. & give it another go. It does get easier, believe me.
    Take care of yourself first then you can face school feeling healthy, strong & confident. Good luck!

  13. As a Teaching Assistant with a small child, and studying for my Early Years Foundation Degree, in the hope of eventually becoming a teacher at the old age of 47, I can see where your coming from. I have neglected my family and concentrated on my studies. Perhaps you should consider going part-time or looking for a possible job share, rather then give up something you love and have obviously worked hard for. Additionally I have had the experience of being a Leader and then being moved due to redundancy to a TA post, which at first is difficult to cope with. I wish you luck with your difficult decision. Maybe the solution is a compromise.

  14. As an overworked HLTA, I would not advise it!
    HLTA pay is not good and you need to remember you are only paid for 38/39 weeks a year, HLTA or TA. My hours are still 32 per week (5 days) over 39 weeks. As an HLTA I have my own specific classes and have to plan and assess for them, etc. I luckily have student children now so the work I do at home does not interrupt too much.
    I wonder also if you will be able to cope with the switch from managing to supporting ?
    I would suggest part-time being the answer. Being a TA is no less stressful in the classroom!
    Good luck!
  15. You could be me !!. I have had these thoughts for years. I did 5 years supply and loved it and wished for a permanent job. When it arrived my life stopped !
    Firstly, it could be the school you are in. Some teachers I know have much better lives than I do and do far less paper work. We're hoping our New Head will give us our lives back. If they don't, I will be seeking an alternitive.
    I would request to go part time and then use the other days to do supply. It might give you an insight to how other schools work. Go on the pay calculator site to work out your part time pay. I would do 3 days a week on a job share. Then you will know whether it is the job itself.
    Failing that, take a complete break from teaching and see how you feel next year. I am sure that if you are only in your second year you are under 30 so plenty of time to change.
    Ignore Inky, staying feeling like you do is not a good idea. I don't know how people with families do it. I am dreading going back next week !
  16. I was a TA for 6 years, then trained as a teacher and now in my second year of teaching have gone back to being a TA again since Christmas (mainly due to all reasons stated by original poster.) And I am really enjoying it!
    (But poor salary means I don't know whether I can do it long term.)
    Three reasons have made it really good for me:
    1) I am working in a really good school with a teacher whom I know is really good.
    2) I am working in a Year group that I have never worked in before so am looking on it as good experience for whatever I do in the future.
    Yes, there are times when I get frustrated and think that I would do things differently but I balance that with being able to walk out at the end of the day and forget about work until the next morning - for me a huge bonus
    3) I have felt that I know the children better and see their progress more obviously than I did when I was a class teacher. and feel that I am making a significant contribution to that progress. I am using so many of my teaching skills even if in a slightly different way..
    I thought about doing part time or supply but wasn't sure how good I would be at having to share a class and didn't want the uncertainty of supply.
    Long live TAs!

  17. I agree with the suggestion that part-time teaching might be a better career move than becoming a TA, if you can find a suitable part-time post. I also agree that it's a matter of priorities; I left full-time primary teaching in my second year to have a family, and I now have two young children and work flexibly as a tutor. This suits everyone. Full time primary teaching is all consuming, and so are your own children, so I had to choose!
    Good luck!
  18. charland

    charland New commenter

    Some advice forom some one who has done it and never looked back. i ave 2 young children and sadly found myself a single parent. although even with a husband around it was very stressful with 2 young children. My Mum said to me one day that your children will never grow up and say " im so glad my mum worked so hard and never spent any tiime doing things with us" but they will grow up remembering all the things you do do with them and memories you share. You can never go back and reclaim those times but you can go back to teaching.
    I have been a TA now for 5 years while my children are young i keep myself involved in the teahching side by attending staff meetings and doing PPA cover. (you will be gold dust to your school!) I do a job working with children still which i love, i spend quality time evenings and weekends with my children and we have a fantastic relationship with them. When you are ready to go back to teaching you can do the return to teach course which the TDA run. ersonally i would rather have less money than less time with my children but thats just me!
    Part-time is also a good idea although i would like to point out i earn a lot more than 10,000
  19. decide what is your dream and ambition if teaching is it ignore the derogatory comments and focus on beiing a creative, exciting, interactive, engaging teacher and that is worth its weight in gold just a shame exams to reach the ability to be a teacher has no reflection on the ability to teach
  20. Hi Beesknees71,
    I have been teaching for 8 yrs full time and i don't have children and it is still stressful. I've asked for 2 days from september and the money is still good as a second income in the house. I've had enough now with all the pressure. Make the move to part time not TA!
    stressful teacher


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