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TA taken advantage of by lazy/poor teacher

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Hardwrker007, May 15, 2011.

  1. Hardwrker007

    Hardwrker007 New commenter

    I am a recent arts graduate who originally wanted to pursue a career in community arts regeneration, however graduating during the recession has proved quite difficult as jobs were scarce. I adore working with children and have had many years of volunteering and leading projects in the UK and abroad. In September I will be pursuing a PGCE in primary education.

    I have been working as a TA for two years. I started at a school last September with a 2.5 form entry school. I have and I am sure as most of you put 200% into my role as a TA as no job is worth a half-hearted effort..whole heartedly all the way.

    Whilst I throughly enjoy my job as a TA, but up until now I can't help but feel taken advantaged of. I have started to become slightly frustrated with my teacher this term as she expects me to carry out my role and most of hers too.

    From getting in, in the morning I usually set up the tables with activites I deem to reflect the 6 areas of learning as planning is usually nowhere to be seen on the board. (My teacher is sitting at her computer all the while - not really sure what she is doing) I tend to the children as they enter and then she takes the register, assembly, etc. At tidy up times, I usually chime the triangle and iniatiate tidy up time and clear away the activities with the children whilst my teacher is getting frustrated working with a group of children. I have a half an hour lunch, set up afternoon activities and then I support EAL children across Reception/Yr1 until lunchtime is over. She has never set up or cleared away activities once since I started with her. After the afternoon session I tidy up whilst she is doing group work, during storytime I take out small groups of children to support them with phonics/blends until the end of the school day. I usually stay an hour after school to work my way through jobs such as displays, lining books, prep for next day, etc.

    She has been observed twice and was told her teaching is satisfactory and is to be observed again this week. She never seems to have her own ideas for the planning and it is I who gives her mine and spends time at home on the internet thinking of activities/ ways to develop the children's learning further.

    What I found most interesting was last week she was absent all week so we had PPA teachers to cover the class. I was amazed at how well the children behaved - even the mischevious ones. The atmosphere in the classroom was so relaxed and calm and the children really enjoyed learning. I felt more at ease and didn't feel stressed as I was able to complete all my jobs. The class teacher returned this week, I explained to her what the children had been learning during the week. There was no appreciation, instead she asked 'Where are all the observations of the children?' The classroom has returned to a tense and stressful learning environment with a stressed/frustrated teacher.

    In our class I feel that 'teamwork' isn't as strong as it should be whereas I have observed the other reception classes and they work wonderfully as a team.

    I am leaving at the end of the year to pursue a PGCE in Primary Education but I feel as though someone in my school needs to hear about her ways of working as I feel it really impacts on the children's learning. I don't feel comfortable sitting down with her as she can be quite defensive. I am not sure whether it is better for me to talk with the Foundation Leader before I leave....What do you think?

    Any suggestions would be welcomed.
    Thank you.
  2. Absolutely! Even if it is to make sure that the replacement TA, who may not have the vast experience or patience that you have, is not treated the same way.
    On the up side of her laziness, if there is one, at least you have gained a valuable insight into working relationships between teachers and teaching assistants as well as classroom management, planning, preparation and behaviour management.
    You sound like you are the sort of person any school would want either as a teacher or teaching assistant. Good luck with your PGCE.
  3. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    Good grief! I've known plenty of teachers who have taken advantage of their TAs goodwill, but nothing compared with this. You're doing most of her job for her, and for a fraction of her pay.
    At least, as PaulaLamb wrote, you've gained very valuable experience from everything you've been doing. I'm sure that you'll do really well on your teaching practices as a result of this.
    I don't think there's any point saying anything much to the class teacher, but I'd definitely speak to the Foundation leader.
  4. You must flag up this situation to the foundationstage co ordinator or head whichever is more approachable before the next poor TA that comes along
    Put it in writing as it will have to be acknowledged and addressed.
    I wish you well on the PGCE and I hope the teacher you have now is not going to mentor you; LOL I suspect she wouldnt know how to do that either. Looks like she is there for an easy life.
    If you work like that in a class the PGCE will be a doddle for you.
    Maybe the words I dont know or maybe you should look it up need to creep into the conversations when she asks for planning advice or point her in the way of the foundation stage co ordinator

  5. Hardwrker007

    Hardwrker007 New commenter

    Thank you all for your advice and feedback.

    I arranged a meeting with my FSL, three weeks ago and had the meeting straight away after school. We have quite a good working relationship and I felt at ease discussing the issues I have with my teacher. She did mention that she is aware of some her behaviours and ways of working but did not realise about some of the other issues I raised.

    E.g Planning is nowhere to be seen, preparation is consistently always last minute.

    I decided that it would be best if the FSL spoke to her on my behalf after she has been observed which is due to take place after half-term. Although in hindsight I wish she had spoken to her there and then.

    Since the meeting, I have noticed her setting up a little and clearing away. Although I think she may be worried due to my my "Performance Management" meeting with the FSL. With regards to activities, they are still of poor quality and not at all engaging enough for the children. I really don't understand how a teacher can be so lazy especially when she does not have any other responsibilites to the school apart from teaching her own class. I try so hard most evenings to come up with activities for the children and at times I feel that she feels 'insecure' or 'threatened' when I come up with activties that actually relate to what the children are learning that week. As quite recently she will come upto to the table I am supervising and watch what I am doing with the children and later asks me questions such as 'Are they choosing their own materials?" or 'Oh I thought they were going to do this..." I do frustrated at times with her reactions but I have logged everything just incase something else arises.

    Also I am not sure how my teacher will behave towards me when the FSL has spoken to her, but to be honest I don't want to ler her attitude get to me if she does treat me differently, as I only have seven more weeks at the school and then I leave to pursue my PGCE.

    Once again, thank you all for you advice. I have learnt so much from this experience and hopefully during my PGCE I can put the positives into practice.

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