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Teaching assistant in class

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

  1. Wow, thanks! GREAT idea...I take note of your mention that "it doesn't happen often," but indeed...slowly but surely![​IMG]
  2. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    Where I work, you certainly need to have GCSE or equivalent in English and Maths. I assumed it was the same everywhere - but if it isn't, then yes I agree! I also completely agree that all adults in school need to act as role models to the children.
  3. I have a wonderful TA in my class full time. I have a mixed Yr 2,3 and 4 class and let's just say they are a handful! My TA:

    Works with set groups during lessons where needed.

    Hears readers and shares the guided reading timetable and APP with me.

    Files writing APP (we do this for all children)ready for me to mark.

    Sticks in and marks homework

    Sets and tests spellings

    When she has worked with a group, I take feedback on how they've got on and she makes notes but I mark the work myself as I think its important I am clear on what they have done that lesson. I do all my own photocopying, displays and sticking things in books and only ask her to do this if she has spare time and I don't. She is HLTA trained and more than capable of dealing with the class on her own if needed so I don't feel right asking her to cut things out or laminate things etc; I used to work as a TA and was used for these types of tasks when I felt I was capable of more, I was thoroughly bored! That said, if she sees these things need doing, she often offers and I accept gratefully!

    Having worked both with and without a TA, I really appreciate their support - maybe Teaching Support would be a better title? I certainly couldn't do it without her!
  4. I think that much of what you have said depends on your job description and what your job is. In my school Teaching Assistants are used as assistants, they support, lead groups, work damn hard, but also complete admin chores and do displays.
    My TA is fantastic but she would never look at my planning and ' adapt resources to meet the needs of sen students'. That is my job as a teacher! I wander if you are a Teaching assistant who supports specific children with additional needs ie wave three support, special needs etc. Because that is the only reason why I assume you 'work for the senco', my TA works for me. I am her line manager and that is how it works through the school.
    I do agree relationships are the key though!
    HUGE apologies for any typos- having major issues witha faulty keyboard! :(
  5. As an ex-teacher, now working as a TA in a Reception class I should like to know more about this research that says my input makes no difference to the learning of the children in the class. The teacher and I share the teaching of small groups for CLLD and PSRN each week, we do parallel introductions to lessons and share listening to readers. We both do break duty, and my hours of work are 8am to 4pm - which is often exceeded. I do observations on the children, interact with them in role play to encourage and extend their imagination and PSED skills, the teacher and I share PE and, while I play no active role in planning, I know that my experience and ideas (and those of the other 2 TAs in our Reception classes) are taken into consideration when activities are planned. We often have more experience than the teachers, especially if they are newly qualified. I am not playing-up my role, having done both jobs I know the difference and have hug admiration for the teachers who work incredibly hard, both in school time and in their own time.

    In my own planning when I was teaching, the TA played an active part in the learning of the children (and I was expected to plan to ensure that this happened) - perhaps I have just been lucky with the TAs and teachers I have worked with, but the role of TAs is vastly different from what it used to be 15 years ago - it is challenging and demanding, so please give credit where credit is due.
  6. I completely agree and the 'wandering' is certainly not the case in our school either! I currently work as an HLTA and so get to see both sides and more often than not I find it is the teachers who don't necessarily know how to use an LSA efficiently. From the moment they walk through the door until the time they leave (which is usually later than they should) our LSAs work with children. There is no time for putting up displays and apart from the odd time when it is a case of 'all hands on deck' they are not expected to. That is the teacher's responsibility and all of our teachers do their own photocopying, etc. Our LSAs are a valuable learning resource and, as above, are involved in everything that concerns that children. They work closely with the teachers and SENCO creating IEPs, annotating them and suggesting new targets, they take small intervention groups consistently though out the day and in Maths and Literacy, when all children are expected in class, they work within small groups. Whilst the teacher is doing the starter or plenary the LSA will be making AFL notes to feedback to the teacher, to inform the next day's planning for whole class or small groups. As with any job, there are the odd ones who do not work as hard, or under their own initiative, but as a whole LSAa are very much pat of the teaching team.
  7. I am astounded at your quote, a Teacher is professional enough to use their initiative with the TA, who has been sent to your classroom, to be directed by you, to assist you in the classroom. This is so a professional relationship can develop....maybe the Teaching Assistant feels the same.
    Therefore, i strongly suggest you include the Teaching Assistant in your lesson planning.
  8. I strongly agree with you, the majority of TA's work very hard, while the Teaching Staff gain all the credit.
  9. . I hate to take the wind out of your sails, but teachers should not be putting up displays or doing photocopying. There is a list of 25 duties which aren't supposed be performed by teachers by agreement between unions and government, and these are on it. However, like most teachers I do both jobs. Sometimes, this is because it is simply easier to do it myself than to try to explain it all to a TA. I have also found that TAs are not always as meticulous as they should be when it comes to mounting displays, and even worse, using correct capitals, apostrophes and spellings on the headings and captions. I do resent having to do these jobs. Not because I think it is beneath me, ( I actually quite enjoy doing displays), but because I am too busy. it is absurd that TAs don't feel that they should be doing these jobs. If they don't do them - who will? I can appreciate that TA roles have ballooned, with support for groups etc. but TAs are rarely qualified to a degree that makes them suitable to take on the responsibilities of teachers. They certainly do not need to be qualified to that extent, although I am aware that there are many graduates doing TA work (not usually with a teaching degree though), so if they are highly qualified that is just the icing on the cake. A typical TA with an NVQ3 should not be taking on responsibilities for planning for groups, but should be carrying out the planning supplied by the teacher. They are not paid teacher's pay and they are being exploited if used as teachers.
  10. Whilst I agree that Teachers should be planning for children who need additional support, and for intervention groups, in recent years this has frequently become the TA's role. With the introduction of Performance Management, and performance related pay for TAs, it seems that TAs being expected to plan for groups and individual children will become accepted practice. Although these Performance Management targets are not meant to involve work outside school hours, with TAs having no non-contact time within the school day, in reality it means that planning and assessment will take place within the TA's own time. This is in addition to mounting displays, preparing resources, setting up/tidying the classroom and outdoor area, attending meetings and all the other things that take place outside a TA's paid hours.
  11. As I said, being exploited. This practice of TAs planning for children is not in the children's best interests, as TAs are not qualified to do it. They should not be working outside school hours, unless paid to do so. I don't know why TAs are not up in arms about the situation, and getting their unions involved. Unfortunately, TAs who consent to do this because they like the idea of beings teachers, and believe they are well-qualified to fulfil this role, are doing a disservice to their colleagues who believe and work to their job descriptions, and within their contracted hours. Managers who use TAs as teachers are devaluing the professionalism of QTS and reducing the effectiveness of the education system. They are trying to get teachers on the cheap and contributing to teacher unemployment.
  12. I agree that TAs should be able to work to their job descriptions and within their contracted hours. Unfortunately, the job descriptions often contain a clause along the lines of "and any other duties commensurate with the needs of the school". I'm not sure where TAs stand as far as their performance managent targets are concerned; when planning is what they are expected to do as a 'challenging' target, if they don't achieve it, then there's no pay rise! I am also aware that some TA's may be unwilling to 'rock the boat' when redundacies may be looming.
  13. I agree that this phrase written into job descriptions is a catch all. Teachers generally have a similar clause in their job description, but also have a clause referring to their entitlement to work-life balance. In theory they can challenge management on the grounds that their workload is interfering with their work-life balance. Considering the pay for TAs, perhaps they should be working with unions and management to test out the idea of work-life balance for a person who is not paid a professional salary, and whose professional qualification is at a below degree level. Otherwise, I fear that TAs will be used more and more to perform teacher duties without the status and salary, while NQTs, supply teachers and older expensive class teachers find it increasingly difficult to find jobs.
  14. That's interesting about an 'entitlement to work life-balance' and could be worth investigating, although what constitutes work-life balance could be interpreted in different ways by different people!
    It would also be interesting to know how TA's targets are set in different schools and if there is any moderation process for this. Again, different schools, different expectations!
  15. LAT2791

    LAT2791 New commenter

    I was a TA for 10 years and the best teacher I worked with had a communication book. We both used it daily. She would jot down any particular jobs that needed to be done (in addition to working with children/listening to readers) It was also a great way to note down any non-confidential issues regarding the class in general. Sometimes it is difficult to feedback everything - clashing duties, meetings, clubs. This provided evidence that we were in touch. I now have the same system with the TA and 1:1 in my class and it works really well.
  16. I am qualified at NVQ Level 3 alongside other qualifications and my pay it pitiful! BUT I love my job and will do whatever I need to, to help improve the childrens learning, be it displays, intervention, reading, marking or whatever.

    I dO have to plan and mark all my own inerventions and have o use my own initiative all the time.

    I dont think I BELONG to a teacher as such but we are a team.
  17. I agree that the teacher and TA should be a team, but, as happens in most teams, they should take on different roles. The teacher has to take ultimate responsibility for what happens in his/her classroom, and needs to make the final decisions. In the best circumstances the decisions should be arrived at through discussion. However, if there is an observation of a lesson, the observers will be looking to see how well the teacher 'uses' the TA. In that sense, the TA does 'belong' to the teacher, and the TA role is to carry out the decisions made by the teacher. Of course, there is always room for give and take, and in a busy classroom situation TAs need to take initiatives. The best TAs I have had have worked so closely and well with me that they know what I would want instinctively.
  18. roise

    roise New commenter

    I do not know a single teacher in my school who doesn't photocopy or put up displays some of the time. However both of these things are things that the workforce agreement said they shouldn't have to do. The same workforce agreement was the rational for bringing in more T.A.'s into schools.

    I have been lucky enough to work with some wonderful T.A.'s who were very professional and capable and carried out a range of duties that were all in the interests of the class and varied from taking speaking and listening groups, following intervention programs, supporting individuals and groups to preparing resources and putting up displays, (although never all the displays). From the majority of the comments on here it sounds like a lot of T.A.'s do the same. In my school we have some T.A.'s who work beyond their hours and some that don't. It is not the case that the ones who keep to their hours are not committed, some of them are amazing and considered to be among the best in the school.

    I personally do not believe that T.A.'s should be planning unless they have had the education and training expected of a teacher. So a trained teacher who is working as a T.A. no problem but someone who may not have a GCSE in maths absolutely not. Intervention programs should have planning for a T.A. to follow. If people want to teach they should train to be teachers because children, particularly children with learning issues deserve qualified teachers.

    This doesn't mean that I don't value the amazing job that they do, my current T.A. is an absolute goddess who makes working in my class a pleasure. She would make a great teacher if she wanted to get the training but she enjoys the job she does and has no great desire to increase her workload or responsibilities.
  19. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter


    There is no room for any rational points on this thread. This is a thread for TAs to have a dig at teachers. Get it right.
  20. Excellent stirring, well done! This thread had gone rather quiet. Although, if you look back at my posts you will find no teacher bashing(sorry). I really llike the teacher I work with, I am happy to be her TA !

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