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Teaching assistant in class

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

  1. I havent read all of the threads on here, but have laughed, nodded and then tutted my way through a few pages!
    I work in a primary school where the majority of TA's are hard working, loyal and professional individuals.

    I work a 32-35 hour week, non stop from 8:15 up until 4pm.

    During that time I am doing a variety of jobs such as running interventions, supporting in class, admin, covering classes, supporting behaviour issues, praising and prompting alongside many other things.

    I run Numicon, Springboard, EAL intervention, Speech & Language, Freshstart, phonics catch up, PC maths groups, Handwriting, Talking Partners & Priority Readers.
    I have to plan, prepare and mark for each of these as well as double running some of them for more than one group.
    I get 45 minutes a week for PPA but the majority of the time there is something 'going on', so I have to do it in my own time.

    I try and help the two main teachers I work with when and where I can, as I can see how overworked and bogged down they are and how little time they have for the amount of work they are required to do.

    I help out regularly at evening discos, weekend fairs, day trips and lunchtimes when needed and do 1:1 at morning break I only get a 30 minute break all day (unpaid)

    And what do I get paid for all of this - a measly £11,000 after tax.

    But at the end of the day I LOVE THE CHILDREN!
    hence why I work so hard for such pittance :)

    I then go home at the end of the day to start my 2nd job - MUM!
  2. To the poster who thinks that a teacher has an easier job than a TA: I'm sorry, but that's just not the case.
    I was a TA for many years, delivering intervention programmes from Y1 to Y6, covering PPA across the school, running clubs, managing the other TAs in school etc. etc. I was joint ICT co-ordinator and joint SENCO with the headteacher. I ended up writing intervention programmes for phonics, to suit the children that we had at the time, and making all the resources required to deliver them effectively. I photocopied, put up displays, counted dinner money, marked optional SATS, mixed paint, mopped up sick (and worse) and all the other things that good TAs do. I had a fantastic working relationship with "my" teacher and worked extremely hard both to make her job easier, where I could, and to enrich the children's learning.
    I am now a teacher in my own mixed-age class. The workload of a TA and a class teacher simply does not compare.
    I'd also love to be able to talk to my TA other than a few hurried minutes while I'm taking the register in the mornings, but she comes in with the children, leaves with the children, and also works for the catering company as a lunchtime supervisor. There are no break times when either she or I aren't on duty, and so finding time to actually go through the plans I provide her with every day (and in advance as much as I can) is nigh on impossible.
    I know that TAs do an invaluable job: mine does in many ways. However, as I have said, her forte in life is not extending a HA group or even differentiating down for a LA group: her forte is as the old-fashioned "mother's army" assistant. We are most definitely a team, and get on fantastically well. During a very fraught NQT year she was my absolute rock, but still, her forte is not working as what equates to a second teacher in the room.
    I know that there are many fab TAs out there, and from personal experience I know all about unpaid breaks, low pay and low status, but even the best TAs in the world are not teachers and do not have a comparable workload.
  3. Here, here! I totally agree with you. I am a TA and the teachers are very lucky in my school, as they all have their own TA. We start at 8.30 (although I normally start at 8.10 when I get into school) and immediately I ask teacher if there is any photocopying to do. Then I'm preparing for my numeracy and literacy groups - don't always get planning off teacher, just thrown a file and I have to find suitable/extra resources. Then in an afternoon do PPA - don't get much for that either, another file, have to do my own research - usually at home. On top of that, I have to fit in any my marking (from my groups), guided reading, resources, displays, speech and language, admin, handwriting, booster clubs (nearer SATs) first aid, breakfast club duty, lunchtime club duty or anything else that I may be given me. If a teacher is absent, we cover at a drop of a hat, therefore I always need to have resources and lessons planned just in case. I also have 30 mins unpaid lunch. I don't stop from the moment I get to work until I leave at 3.30 pm and remember, as the above lady, I am also paid as a TA and not as an HLTA, as I should be for the amount of planning I do. Some teachers in my school talk to us as if we are thick and talk down to us and some of the comments I have read they obviously think the same, but those teachers need to realise that some TAs can use their initiative and don't need to be spoon fed, and some TAs, do have qualifications, I have a degree, but choose to be a TA to fit in with my own children and so I don't have to do as much work at home!
  4. As a TA I have very little time unoccupied these days, what with intervention sessions of every description and working directly with the children. My teacher and I try to find time to cover other classroom tasks between us. She too keeps a list of 'to do' on display and filing work in a tray. The more you work together you can second guess what needs to be done.
  5. Isn't the clue in the job title? TeachING assistants are not teachERS assistants ergo, they work with the children and not as skivvies for the teachers.
  6. From the perspective of both TA and student teacher in their final year I feel I should argue that many TAs are highly skilled, sometimes qualified to degree level with years of classroom experience, and as such are valuable classroom assets! As students we are advised to use TAs wisely to ensure the impact on achievment is great as possible, sharing planning, assessment and teaching strategies so they can push pupil's learning forward. It seems a shame to waste so much potential support for children.
  7. I am very well aware of that, but when my TA writes things like, "He read sweet" and "We writ the sentences togetha" in reading journals and homework books, it makes me think that they are not really impacting positively on teaching and learning.
  8. Plus I forgot to add, if the childrens levels dont rise or if progress isnt being made, is not only the teacher who they go to, to find out why, they come to us too like in tracking.

    Also, even though I am qualified to Level 3, have a speech and language qualification as well as many other SEN/EAL experience, I am still paid as the lowest of the low!
  9. roise

    roise New commenter

    I have been very lucky to work with some wonderful T.A.'s over the years with a wide range of different skills and aptitudes. I have enormously valued their contribution to my classroom however the responsibility for the learning of the children in my class has always been left at my door. This means that while I absolutely value their contribution it has been my role to ensure that they are effectively deployed, most of the time with children but part of the time doing other tasks that benefit the children's learning like displays and making resources or organising homework. I have had one episode of working with someone who felt herself to be too special and valuable to assist the teacher in this way and it was a great relief when she left and I could go back to someone who wanted to be part of a team rather than competing to play at being the teacher. Children deserve to have a qualified teacher and people who wish to teach should train to become teachers rather than resenting the people who have. The evidence that has been referred to saying that the employing more TA has not raised standards in in the Sutton report, it's not someones opinion but a report based on statistical evidence. I personally think that it is flawed and that a well deployed TA can make a huge difference but there's not point being insulted by people mentioning it, it's more helpful to try to understand why it made those findings. I find it more insulting that someone should say that because T.A.'s are paid by the hour it is better to make teachers do admin tasks as unpaid overtime.
  10. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Surely the title Teaching Assistant would imply they assist teaching. The teacher must decide the best way they can do that. If they feel getting the TA to do some admin tasks (which they should be doing as part of their job) helps them prepare better for the lesson then so be it.
  11. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Crazy idea, just going to throw it out there. If you are so qualified and upset about being paid as the lowest of the low, then why not become a teacher?
  12. I hope it wasn't my post that offended you. If it was, what I was actually trying to say is that because teacher's contracts are more open ended the temptation to keep on heaping more work onto teacher's shoulders is there. TAs on the other hand do have some protection by the fact that their hours are clearly laid out. I know that lots of TAs work extra hours and in many cases their goodwill is exploited but teachers are ultimately responsible for the pupil progress in their class and not the TA. If the jobs aren't done I can still go home - teachers cannot!
    A previous poster talked about a TA role with an admin role attached. I think it would be beneficial to have the TA role split up so that all schools have some TAs on the lowest grade who are responsible for the admin tasks for all the teachers in the school. More experienced TAs could then be classroom based and engaged in teaching and learning. That way the needs of the teachers for photocopying, laminating and displays can be met without interfering with the teacher's responsibilities to provide TA support for intervention groups.
    My understanding of the reports showing that TAs are not impacting upon learning is because they were not being utilised effectively. TAs were more likely to be placed with lower ability groups and not all TAs have the necessary skills to support the complex learning needs of some of these children.
    As always it comes down to having the time to do all the zillion things that there are to do in the day. In the end maybe all of us, teacher or TA should be questioning the ever increasing workload for all of us that work in the classroom!
  13. Just a thought.. but do you think TAs should have to pass tests in English and Maths?... (as trainee teachers must). Or have a minimum of grade C at GCSE?
    I feel that there is a possibility that some poorly educated TAs may be doing more harm than good. I know I cringe at some of the non standard English that is spoken by some adults in school, e.g. "Will youse come over here?"
    I am not suggesting all TAs have poor English BTW!
  14. morris199872

    morris199872 New commenter

    Hi all, very interesting reading. I am a TA myself and I start work at 8.30 am and greet the children alongside the class teacher assisting if any children are upset or have a problem. I listen to readers and also carry out duties such as photocopying etc throughout the day, fitting these jobs in when I am not working with a group. I work until 3.30pm each day, sometimes longer if things need to get done. My teacher treats me as another member of a closely tight knit team, which I am glad to be a part of.

  15. I'm sorry you seem to think TA's want more than they're prepared to give. That's very rare.
    My day so far: started work early to complete a before-school intervention and prepare resources for literacy interventions (we don't get a year's training to do this, we have to rely on experience and our knowledge of the students), first lesson of the day: compiled a list of outstanding work for students with frequent absenteeism and supported and guided them to complete these, break: met with a teacher about a class I don't support to develop a new seating plan to improve behaviour, lesson 2: supported literacy and provided encouragement, scribes for a student with a broken arm, lesson 3: collected and distributed resources, supported 2 year 9 students with early-years level reading ages, managed the class when the teacher left to deal with a number of issues, lunch: supervised a detention, spoke to senco about progress in a sex & relationships course I'm developing for mod students, arranged a cooking class to demonstrate real-world applications of literacy & numeracy, lesson 4: calmed down an irate student on the verge of exclusion, provided subject-specific support to allow the teacher to mark work, 3.05-4: staff meeting, student notes, phone calls to parents, chased up overdue reports from teachers, arranged meetings with teachers to discuss the support I provide their classes. Went home, saw my son. Reviewed literacy files of 8 students, put together a plan for thei spelling programmes and turned to TES website to keep abreast of developments in my industry. My next task is to do some work on the final year of my degree... I hope to go.to bed today!
  16. Hooray, finally someone who shares the same experience!
  17. If it wasnt the fact that I am a single parent, who has no choice but to work to pay the bills and keep a roof over our head s then I would indeed train to become a qualified teacher.
    It has been going through my mind for a couple of years now, but unfortunately funds keep it in my mind.
    I love being in school and apart from the odd day get a great sense of achievement from helping children progress.

    I honestly dont mind if the class teacher asks me to go and photocopy or do some admin work.
    I think we are all their for the children and need to do our bit to help in whatever way that may be.
  18. please dont tell me off for my their that should be there - I know!


    its been a long day:)
  19. As a TA, I have recently completed my Adult Numeracy & Literacy Exams and I couldn't agree more!

    We are there to help teach the students, therefore we should have a good basic knowledge of numeracy and literacy and if we ever do come across something we are not sure of, be honest and look it up with the children - we are after all human and not machines.

    I think some of the children I work with actually like it when I dont know something as they feel they are helping me and we find out together. one said she doesnt mind getting things wrong now or not being sure of an answer.
  20. I share a class with another teacher. We utilise our TA's time by having them work mainly with students in lower groups academically, as well as those with specific learning difficulties. During teacher-directed lessons the TA monitors and assists those students we have specifically targeted for them. During group work, the TA generally works with a lower group, or a group containing a targeted student or students, <u>after</u> we have worked with that group, assisting students with follow-up activities. We have a 'communication book' set up for each TA that comes into our classroom in which they note any specific observations they have made about students. We also communicate with them about specific students in this book. This only takes a few minutes out of their allocated time, but produces a wealth of data for us. Hope this Aussie perspective is helpful.

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