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Me and My TA

Discussion in 'Primary' started by xbhappy4evax, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. I have just started working as an NQT with year 5. I am really enjoying working there and everyone has been very supportive and welcoming.

    I like to think that I have been getting on really well with my TA and hope for us to work really well as a team this year.

    However both she and I have been extremely busy this week as has everyone and I commented to the teacher in the sister class that I wish I had more time to complete tasks such as laminating and putting the children's work on display. (I am already leaving when I get kicked out at quarter to six) At which point she told me I shouldn't be doing that and should be asking my TA to do it. Whilst to some extent I agree and have been up very late all week trying to make sure I'm on top of everything as much as I can, still lacking hours in the day, my TA has been very busy too. She is working with small groups in the morning and afternoon and does a lot of prep work for it, as well as working the lunchtime club. She has also been very helpful regarding school routines I am as yet unfamiliar with.

    Should I be asking more from her or just find time myself as I always did on my university placements?
  2. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Surely that should be 'My TA and I'?
  3. Waterfin

    Waterfin New commenter

    Personally (and will only be a matter of a few posts til I get shot down I imagine, knowing how it can be on here sometimes) I feel that a TEACHING assisstant, should be assisting your TEACHING. It is a far better use of their time to be with the children, supporting their learning than spending hours laminating. I only have a few hours of help allocated to me. Occasionally, if my children are doing something as a whole class that the TA would have difficulty helping with and can't withdraw children from (listening to the class book for example) then I do usually have something like copying/laminating/mounting work for them to do. The rest of the time they listen to readers and support the children in the class. Bright, attractive classrooms are lovely but shouldn't take precedence over the children's learning.

    PS Harsh...surely it differs depending on the rest of the complete sentence?
  4. We had someone from one of the TUs come into uni to talk to us and he got all serious and said that "legally, putting up displays is not the teacher's job".
    I totally sympathise with what you're saying, though. Sometimes it does feel like an imposition to ask these things, especially when the TA does more than just a few guided groups that you prepare for them. Also, sometimes you don't want the TA doing stuff! Once on placement I was soooo snowed under and with a horrid mentor and a ridiculous commute to and from the school and an examiner's visit looming, the kindly TA offered to put my display up for me and I very, very gratefully accepted. But I hated how she did it and it really bugged me but I'm quite anal and sad about things like that.
    Maybe you could share the work? If, say, she does the backing and mounting and you put the work up, or whatever. All the TAs I've worked with who've given me their sage advice say the way to a happy TA is to talk to them and ask their opinion...
    If it makes you feel better, one of my PGCE mentors used to have her LSA marking the kids' work...!
  5. I am a TA, ann have been for many years, I do sympathise with you cos its so damned hard to get everything done, when you are both working flat out.
    Its sounds as if you have already established a fairly good relationship your TA, so is it possible to, maybe, set one late night aside where you can ask for her help amd maybe treat yourselves to half an hour in the pub afterwards as a way of a treat and a thankyou?
    My teacher and I regulary to do this after school on a Friday, sometimes we unwind with a coffee in a pub or a light meal, but it does strengthen your relationship and shows your apprecciation..and its a great way to unwind.
    A bit random, I know, but i hope it helps...good luck x

  6. This is a great suggestion, your relationship with your TA is sooooo important. Although, seriously, there is <u>no way</u> I could be in a pub on a Friday and not a drop of wine passes my lips!?!?!!?!???
  7. Erm...3.30pm is a bit too early for a wee dram, lol
    Seriously though, you would be surprised just how more human it make you feel, and so appreciative of each other, it sort of makes up for that 5.45 finish during the week AND give you something to look forward to.
    You could always hit the bottle at a later time that evening..[​IMG]
  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    It makes me really cross when I hear of TAs working unpaid overtime.

  9. Inky, I know what you mean, I feel the same, but I personally would work overtime (occasionally) to help out some teachers more than others., Its usually those who I have developed a brill working realtionship and have become firm friends over the years.
    Others, I would'nt cos they just take the mick and expect it from me!!
    What goes around, comes around is my motto.
  10. There are a number of tasks including putting up displays that a teacher cannot be REQUIRED to do, but it is not ILLEGAL for a teacher to do them if he or she chooses. A TA cannot be REQUIRED to stay late to work with the teacher, but many choose to do so.
    As other posters have said, it all comes down to the relationship between the teacher and the TA.
  11. I'm exactly the same about displays! Firstly, I think the most sensible thing to do is reassess the tasks you are doing and decide which ones are needed, which ones would be nice to do on a Fri night, when you're too tired to do anything else, and which ones you can cope without being done. Secondly, to make the displays easier, what I do is use push pins to place everything where I want it. Then I hand my TA the staple gun!

    giggle xx
  12. It sounds like you've already got a good relationship with your TA so that's great. It also sounds like you have a very competent TA, lucky you!
    I spent last year feeling like there was no time for anything and struggling to get things like laminating and displays done. I've been thinking about it over the holidays and have come up with a new system. I have a tray that stays by the computer. Anything that needs laminating, mounting, photocopying etc goes in the tray with a post it attached saying what is needed. My TA knows it's there and any time she gets a spare moment (not often but it does happen occassionally!) she works through the stuff in the tray. If something is more urgently required I give it to her straight away rather than putting it in the tray.
    Occassionally the 'floating' TA will come to me and ask if there's anything I want doing so the tray is ideal then as I can just give her something from there. Whenever she came last year, I knew I had a million things I needed doing but couldn't think of one right at that moment!! Now I never waste the time offered [​IMG]

    One final thought, the first week is always hectic and exhausting, even when you've been teaching for years! As you settle in and get to learn the school routines you should find things get a bit easier. There is often a little window of time not being fully used and it can take a while to notice it, especially when you are new to the school (and teaching). What happens during assembly time? Could your TA do laminating and displays then? That is when mine gets most of the jobs done. She also sometimes does little jobs when I'm doing the whole class teaching. She stays in the room so she knows what I've said to the children, but she does a job like cutting out resources at the same time.
  13. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Despite my best efforts, I am rather warming to your style, harsh-but-fair!
    To chip in on the discussion: we are lucky to have a wonderfully efficient admin. assistant whose specific role is to make up resources/photocopy/laminate/make up displays etc. Our head is most understanding in this respect; I realise that we are probably in the minority, certainly as far as small primaries go. I still prefer to put up my own displays, as it's probably quicker than to explain precisely what I want and run the risk of it not being quite right and wanting to do it all again without offending, but the backing/mounting etc., I'm more than happy for her to do.
    INSET days also provide an excellent opportunity for TAs to do lots of little jobs in the classroom whilst class teachers are occupied with far more tedious affairs.
  14. I agree with Waterfin. My TA spends most of her time working with the children. I certainly wouldn't expect her to work after her contractual hours - they get paid peanuts as it is. I was going to suggest a 'to do' box like Nickybo. Make it clear that it is for either of you to do when one of you gets a spare minute. There are always more jobs to sort out at the start of the year so it should calm down once they are done.
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Agree totally far better use of a valuable "resource"
  16. Thanks for all the advice. That's a really good idea I think I may get a 'To Do Tray'. I completely agree with those of you who have posted about the TA spending more time with the children than doing such tasks, but regardless they need doing whoever does them. I am more than aware that this is a lot more than a 9 till 3 job and am happy to work hard to give my children the best. I just wish there was more hours in the day so that i could finish everything.

    I'd like to find time for us to sit and have a chat with tea and chocolate but she gets picked up at dead on half past three and has Friday afternoons off.

    I guess I will have to see how my routine fits and hope everything settles into place.
  17. How come your TA's are in school on INSET days? Ours never are!
  18. Ours are, but they always have specific training to attend too. When working in key stage 2 in my school I had exactly the same problem; the TA is shared between the two classes in the year group. Luckily now in key stage 1 I have my own TA all morning and she is incredibly efficient. I LOVE the idea of the to do tray- thanks!
  19. Should have a comma: "attend, too" not "attend to"
  20. I can only echo everything that has been said here!
    I would much rather have my TA in working with the children and to put my own display up!
    Im not saying my TA never puts displays up and laminates for me 'cos she does, but she is too valuable to only do that.
    Our Y3 class teacher uses her TA as a laminating/copying/dogsbody and it shows both in their relationship and the outcomes for the children.
    Just keep up doing what your doing, remember to keep all your resources that you make this year as you will always use them again in the second year and everything will be much easier!

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