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Moving from teaching to HLTA.. any tips?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by justpayingattention, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. justpayingattention

    justpayingattention New commenter


    I'm going to be moving schools to be HLTA (mostly doing PPA cover and interventions I think?), having taught Year 4 this year.

    Bit of background... I completed my first 2 terms of NQT at previous school in 2016/17, but the stress of it all had a serious impact on my mental and physical health.. School were brilliant and supportive, and I worked as a TA for the remainder of that year and all of last academic year while I got better and loved every second of it! Ended up covering my CT on Fridays with the class I was in anyway as she only worked 4 days as a way of easing me back into things and started at my current school in September.

    Managed to complete NQT in April but found that over the course of the year stress was building up and after going to doctor's for anxiety the first week of Summer 2 decided to go to working mornings only (thankfully I have another supportive head!) I decided that having had a couple of gos at teaching that it's just not right/healthy for me..

    Got a job last week as starting in Sept as a HLTA in a school with far less challenging behaviour than I'm used to, and while I'm feeling relieved about not having to spend next year worrying about all the extras that came with teaching and really stressed me out, I know that my new role will have some of it's own challenges! Really excited about it, but wondered if anyone had any tips on being a good HLTA/doing good PPA cover? Or good resources that will make it easier/help me stay organised? (Top of my list is asking for a planner for my birthday next month that already has dates in so I can be more organised and actually use it next year!)
  2. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Hi justpayingattention. Having been a HLTA in a role similar to your new one for more than 10 years, I can definitely find a few tips!
    - Talk to class teachers. Get to know everything you can about the classes, especially children you need to keep a special eye on. Also get to know any TAs who work with the classes - they can be a great support for you.
    - Make sure you are familiar with the school behaviour policy and any individual class rewards and sanctions schemes. Cover works best if you and the class teacher are seen to be a team.
    - Set your ground rules from the start. Be clear about your expectation of behaviour.
    - Will all the planning be done for you? If so, that's great. What about marking? Will you be expected to do any and, if so, when? If you are expected to do any planning or marking, you should have some PPA time.
    - Begin to collect a bank of activities for each year group that you can always pull out if needed. There will always be a time when you finish a lesson quicker than expected and you need to keep them occupied for 10 minutes. I have a 'thinking out of the box' collection which I often use - comes from
    These are just a few thoughts - post again if you have specific questions. Good luck and enjoy your new adventure!
    caterpillartobutterfly and Lalad like this.
  3. Supplylady

    Supplylady New commenter

    Good luck with your new role. I work as a HLTA and love the interventions because I believe they really make a difference. I cover PPA lessons in 4 classes and provide my own planning, mark the work and write reports. One really helpful task I have found, is to photocopy a child's book from each year group you are going to teach so that you have a scaffold to help with your planning. You can then modify these if necessary but they give you a starting point. Hope this helps.
    sunshineneeded likes this.
  4. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    @justpayingattention Take note of what is being said here.
    You are a qualified teacher - be careful that you don't end up doing what is essentially a teacher's job on an HLTA's pay.
  5. Supplylady

    Supplylady New commenter

    This is happening a lot in most schools as budgets are slashed. Don't wish to worry you, but like Lalad says, be really careful because you can end up covering lessons when someone is off at the last minute. It can be frustrating because:
    * You want to get on with your interventions that are making a big difference
    * You are preparing and marking all the work you covered and then having to plan your own on top.
    * Suddenly you are losing your PPA time because you had to cover someone else instead of carrying out your planning.
    * Set hours suddenly become very long and you are constantly on catch up.

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