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Teaching assistant in class

Discussion in 'Primary' started by getrichquick, Jan 22, 2012.

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    I'm a TA and I'm time tabled in all day working with
    children, not even a minute to spare, our school has TA's on playground duty
    and dinner duties. The only time we get to do any jobs is when the children are
    in the hall watching a play.

  2. I'm also a TA and totally agree with Yogs. If research shows that TA's impact is low, then surely that's down to the teachers' poor management? Our school has very talented TA's in various departments - special needs, art, languages, maths (many to degree level). Yes Yogs, the key here IS good communication, and respect of each other's role.
  3. Strangerkat

    Strangerkat New commenter

    It's your choice to work until 8:30pm, so you have no reason to complain about the workload you are doing.
  4. As a teacher I'm so glad you don't work in my class!!
  5. NQT1986

    NQT1986 Occasional commenter

    If research shows that TA's impact is low, then surely that's down to the teachers' poor management?

    Yes, obviously that is the conclusion to make.
  6. I am a Y6 TA, level 2, at the moment and have worked in Nursery - Y7 classrooms and as 1:1 behaviour support assistant and a key stage intervention supoort assistant over nearly 20 years. I find that each teacher works differently. I prefer it if whomever I am working with has a book which lists jobs needing to be done then if anyone - teacher, TA or child has time and ability the jobs are done and crossed off. I have my own timetable with the children which is normally full although if the class has guest speakers, drama lessons, etc then I can look in the book to see if there is anything I can do. It saves the teacher having to think on the spur of the moment or me having to pin him/her down when s/he is busy for something to do. I find it also focuses the teacher on class admin. My timetable includes intervention sessions for literacy and numeracy, Guided Reading sessions, reading/spelling tests, and group work within lessons. I only cover literacy and numeracy so if any other lesson is planned I have time to arrange admin for my groups and the classroom. I also run both KS1 and KS2 libraries, the Guided Reading scheme, co-ordinate the counting of vouchers and librarians. I work 15.5hrs p/w. I hope this helps.
  7. The TAs in school are deployed by the headteacher, who is also the SENCO. We are instructed to use them for admin and other small jobs which help free us up for teaching and learning. So, I have no say in moving my TA to another classroom during the afternoons.
    Yes, pupils could always do with being encouraged and supported, but unless I sit and write specific plans for my TA, as I do for her for literacy and numeracy, she just drifts around talking about people's parents and families and neighbours. She needs a lot of direction, and then often does not do as I intended her to do.
    I do share my literacy and numeracy planning with her, and also write what amounts to a script for support groups in the classroom. I also get any resources she needs ready, and differentiate anythinng she needs for her group. Again, often I ask for one thing and get another.
    However, my TA is invaluable at knowing when something is coming up in the year and what needs to be done; finding general resources; mounting work; photocopying.... general "looking after" and pastoral care.
    I was a TA for many years, so I can see this from both sides.
    Oh, and the poster who mentioned the post somewhere above which stated that it has been proved that TAs have little or no impact on raising standards: this is a well-documented, well-researched area. I suggest you start by looking up the Tennessee STAR project - a very academic, well-respected longitudinal study in America which conlcuded that the ONLY things to impact on raising standards in teaching and learning are class sizes and CPD for teachers.
  8. If TAs have little or no effect on achievement, why are more and more of us delivering interventions as well as giving support in class.
    I've been a TA for many years and if I believed I had no effect, I would not still be doing this job. I am woundering why you have such a low opinion of TAs?
  9. But we have to recognise that teachers and TAs don't live in an ideal world. Every TA could be magnificently utilised in the classroom to raise standards if we only had that one little thing 'Time'. Ideally all TAs would be alloted some time daily before or after school in which to go through planning and intervention groups with the teacher, to make lovely games and resources, to provide a constantly changing, exciting, interactive environment.Sadly there aren't enough hours in the day, not enough TAs to go around and so everything always becomes something of a compromise.
    I don't mind whether the teacher I work with uses a notebook or simply directs me to tasks that they require doing. The pace of working in school has become frenetic and most of the conversations I have with my lovely teachers are quick two minute conversations inbetween the relentless non-stop activity.
    It isn't an 'us and them' situation. Teachers work extremely hard as do the TAs on their lower salaries often working extra unpaid hours because they are committed to the children and their colleagues.
    I have seen massive changes in the role of the TA. When I started there were three TAs in my school (in Reception or working one to one). Now each year group has a TA but with the economic climate the way it is we need to be mindful that things could well revert to the way things used to be. TAs are one of the most expendable groups in schools, we need to work with our teachers to ensure that we are most effectively used within the classroom.

  10. I don't have a low opinion of TAs, I was one myself for 8 years. I worked hard and put in the all the extra work I could to make my teacher's life easier and the children's learning enjoyable and accessible.
    The culture in the school I work in now as a teacher is very different. The TAs are generally not well skilled, often have low levels of literacy and numeracy themselves. My TA does not work one second longer than she has to (and I don't blame her!) but it means that she has no time to read the plans I provide for her, no time to find the resources she might need, and she often does something different to what I have asked.
    In lots of ways she is invaluable: we are a team and I rely on her for al sorts of help, but her forte is not supporting teaching and learning.
  11. Sorry, that was in reply to kaftam right near the beginning of this debate not you.
  12. I have experience of several TAs. Some fantastic... but some useless.
    At the moment I get to have a TA for 1 session a week. She is great. I can trust her to follow instructions, make intelligent suggestions, or take the initiative if required. She is literate and numerate. Wonderful. Just wish I could have her a little more.
    Last term I had a TA for about half of the week. She couldn't follow the simplest instructions, or even have the sense to be quiet when I was teaching - despite my gentle (and private) requests that she do so. She was of the mind set that she had to "help the children"...she would never stay with the group I asked her to work with. Without fail she gravitated to my poorest group and did the work for them. I will leave it to you to figure out what it did for their independence. Or worse, responded to the able but idle who knew she would tell them what to put. Oh her spelling and grammar was a bit dodgy too. I grew weary of constantly reminding her to move back to where I asked her to work.
    I have managed staff in school and other settings. I tried different ways of changing the way we worked together, none of which worked. I tried being subtle, and when that didn't work, the more direct: "Please don't answer the children when they talk to you during my teaching input."
    It was FAR easier without her "help". She was even rubbish at the simplest admin task. Is this my poor mangement? Or someone who was not up to the job? The worst thing was being asked to write her a job reference.
    As for doing the photocopying, displays etc... I usually end up doing it all myself because there is usually noone else.. Though surely it is better value to have the highly trained (and more costly to the school) teacher planning lessons and the slightly less qualified (and less costly) TA doing the less specialist tasks. Just saying.
    TAs please note, I am not getting at you as a whole... I know you are mostly hardworking and committed. But I work insane hours just to do my job, so please don't get offended when I say TAs should do displays and photocopying sometimes. I do want to go home at 5.00 ocassionally.
  13. Thank you very much Kit909 for your support. As a TLA myself I have other skills other than working a photocopier. I am paid to be with the children and support the teacher not to just do what the teacher asks of me (which obviously I do do) I don't ask my teacher what needs doing I use my INITIATIVE which some teachers do not think we have. If he needs me to do something specific he asks me respectfully but I know my routine and what is expected of me and that is what I do.
    My teacher also does his own photocopying and displays it isn't just down to me. We work as a team not as the teacher and the TA.
  14. I am a HLTA and am quite happy to do the admin/display type jobs but my Head tells all our teachers that TAs are 'too expensive a resource' to be doing those jobs. Teachers aren't paid by the hour like TAs so getting teachers to work insane hours isn't going to cost Heads anymore on their budget. OFSTED wants to see TAs in the classroom working with children and Heads will understandably have an eye on that.
    It doesn't help the poor beleaguered teachers, someone has to do those jobs, it's not because TAs are too hoity to do them it's because our roles have changed.
  15. NQT1986

    NQT1986 Occasional commenter

    I could sort of see this happening when TAs were taken on in droves ten years ago. They were brilliant-did photocopying/painting/SEN/sorted out bookbags/hear readers. Now, just a few years later-they go on some courses, want more money and status and don't want to wash the paint pots.

  16. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    and teachers aren't too expensive a resource to be doing them?

    If teachers are not meant to be doing the admin jobs and now TAs aren't meant to either, then who is? There are going to be plenty of blank display boards around the country soon enough.
  17. Your opinion but we are not all like your TA. If this is the case and you feel that a TA is not meaningful for you. Try and cope without one. I believe that most people need help at sometime or another.

    I know that we will never compare to a teacher but I know that my skills and knowledge are respected and encouraged at the school I am in by my class teacher.
  18. I am a Hlta in primary school. I work in class with groups of children, as directed by the class teacher. I prepare resources for each lesson.I photocopy when required. My teacher and I talk all the time and have a great relationship and realise that we both have some great skills. In addition I cover classes in the absence of a teacher. I work daily with children needing extra support, which requires a certain amount of planning and resources. I work with a small group of children who struggle in numeracy and I also run a nurture group, again, both need me to plan. My working day is jam-packed- to have any spare minutes would be a luxury, and I haven't even included the million other jobs that I have to fit in.Maybe research states we don't raise attainment (and I question that),but I think we are a vital part of school life.
  19. Absolutely LaureRichas I am a Senior Teaching and Learning Assistant and I too agree with your post. We are expensive and we are a valuable resource. I know myself that I am encouraged to observe the children in their learning journey and all my obs go towards the child's developmental folder and my teacher listens to my concerns and suggestions. He keeps me informed with things and respects my experience and knowledge.
    I work with the children all the time and I do photocopying and displays. I have no worries about doing these things at all. It is all about TEAMWORK and not being seen as a glorified dogsbody.
  20. Hi there.
    It depends on what your school does with regard to 'provision mapping'. This means a change in the way teachers use TAs in that that work doing interventions with selected children, working towards targets and being accountable for their progress, providing evidence etc .............. so, no more photocopying, displays or washing paint pots!
    The SENCO becomes responsible for planning the TAs timetable, working which whichever children in the school have been identified. Of course, I guess not all schools have started doing this, so it may be back to the 'book' method! Good luck!

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