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Teaching assistant in class

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

  1. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    This thread seems full of heightened emotions! Reading it over it does seem that some Ta's feel that they are toogood to do admin! I generally do my own, as well as displays but my TA (and yes I do say 'my' and I know for a fact this does not offend her) is Blimmin brilliant and always willing to assist in any capacity I need. I have total respect for her and the work she does, would never treat her as a dogsbody but the fact is, even though most of us do, there are certain tasks that teachers were officially freed from doing. Well they still need doing. TA's are there to support learning and preparing displays and copying resources is all part of that. I was a TA and had an admin slot timetabled in. I think the role is different in secondary and for those attached to a child rather than class or yeargroup.
  2. Having read through this thread again from the beginning I can't help but think that a lot of the posts from teachers and TAs give a really good indicator of the stress levels that both jobs entail. Undoubtedly teachers have an enormous workload and ultimately they are responsible for ensuring that their class make the required amount of progress. From a TA's perspective there has definitely been a shift in the expectations of our role in recent years: we lead many more intervention groups and in many schools the expectation is our directed hours will be spent working with pupils. I have, in past years, been given targets relating to the percentage of pupils in my groups making the required levels on my performance management( although not this year). I find it hard to fit in the admin jobs, but I still do them, equally the CT also does admin we share the workload. I know how much work my CT also does at home and am well aware that the more admin tasks I get finished, the more time she has to focus on planning and assessment etc. There is a wider problem with just how much pressure staff of all roles are working under and given the signals Mr Gove is sending this is likely to increase. If there was ever a time to band together irrespective of role then this is it!
  3. Absolutely agree, too many teacher v TA generalisations on this thread. I have not indulged in any 'teacher bashing' on this thread because I recognise that all staff within schools are having to work incredibly hard.
    Lots of TAs would I'm sure welcome a little time for assisting teachers with classroom preparation. Many TAs feel increasingly that they are having to plan and prepare beyond their role and more to the point beyond their pay scale.It has stopped being a job where you could leave at the end of the day.
    The fact that TAs role has changed is not down to TAs all over the country getting 'above themself' and thinking that they are too important for classroom duties. The change has been led from those in more senior positions who dictate what we can and should be doing in the classroom.
    It suits those above us to indulge in colleague bashing because it directs our attention away from the real problems in education.That is that unrealistic expectations are being heaped upon those working in schools. While the economy continues in recession it has become clear that schools are now becoming the scapegoat for all the ills of our society.
  4. Surely teaching assistants are there to assist the teacher in whatever capacity he or she deems necessary to aid teaching, often they can help do photo-copying or put up a display to help free up the teacher's valuable teaching time.
  5. You're right and that is the case for most TAs, except in some schools TAs are now expected to spend pretty much the entire school day working directly with pupils. If a TA is contracted to work 8.45-3.15,for example, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time for admin. Many TAs, including myself, get those jobs done in our own time-unpaid. This isn't really a teacher versus TA issue it's more to do with a wider shift which is happening right now. This is just my opinion, but it seems to me that teachers have less freedom to choose how they use the resources at their disposal. The teacher I work with may really want me to do a display, but if I am seen to be doing said display during lesson time then this is most definitely frowned upon. I'm no expert but I'm guessing that Ofsted look to see TAs working with pupils too ? Maybe we need to look at time tabling TAs in such a way that there is some time allowed for admin each week, or TAs whose strengths lie more in the admin role are used across several classes;whilst others work with pupils.
  6. I have the lesson plans emailed to me on a Sunday, I also have the medium term plans, this allows me to contribute ideas for displays, resources and lesson ideas. Having the weekly plans allows me to ensure resources are ready prior to lessons and I am able to read them daily so I know who I am working with and what I am doing. I also have the opportunity to research anything I am unsure of.
  7. That sounds really helpful. Although it relies on your class teacher spending some of the weekend on that task.
  8. I think you've summed up the whole thing very well. I want - and try - to do everything I can to help the students I work with, and their teachers, but...
    1) there is no time when both teachers and teaching assistants are free to discuss students, lesson plans, etc.
    2) there are expectations that teaching assistants should undertake tasks we are not qualified or even trained for.
    3) if teaching assistants do everything expected of them by teaching staff and management, they can not work to their allotted hours which, on the pay we receive, does make a difference.
    What I'm saying is that the role needs to be defined more accurately and that the slt should accept their responsibility for ensuring that ta's have time to perform the tasks allocated to the role - including adhering to unpaid breaks. There should also be a culture within schools that teachers and teaching assistants work together not just alongside each other.
  9. A few points:

    Firstly, the role of TA has changed in many schools, and I say many, but not all.

    Like it or not, this has been encouraged over the years and if you read up on school Leadership (as I am currently doing for my BA (Hons) in Teaching and Learning, you will find that Leadership is being encouraged within the whole school community, and of course that means that some of us TAs who have the wit about us will extend ourselves, gain many qualifications and then find that we are multi-skilled and valuable but not in monetary terms. Myself I am planning to get my degree and then do an MA in Social Work. I refuse to be this highly qualified and skilled for £13,000 p.a.

    My school values ALL staff. We are all involved in daily briefing meetings, staff meetings and KS meetings. We have a valuable input and to those that say TAs don't, then the Head should sort that out. There are too many TAs who cannot spell, add up etc. Yes, they should have minimum qualifications in Maths and English I believe.

    So. What are we doing all day? Like it or not, we are TEACHING the children. Be it individually, in small groups or whole class. Don't blame us or have a go at us, we all know that there is no supply work for teachers as TAs are covering classes (my bf is a supply teacher). TAs have moved on from washing paint pots (though we still happily do that and all over mundane jobs) which we fit into our packed days where we work seamlessly alongside the teachers. I work with a great teacher and we know each other well enough to not need lists or instructions. We just both get on with it.

    What else do we do? We attend Social Service meetings for the teacher, who is teaching at the time. We deal with behaviour issues, we support children, carry out assessments, do displays, mark books and worksheets, prepare resources - some of them our own, do admin, serve up milk and fruit, deal with extremely difficult parents, cover first aid duties ... the list is endless and that's why we love it. A good TA likes to be busy and wears twenty hats at the same time. We are multi-skilled and an asset and if you don't agree I feel sorry for you because you have never had a good TA.

    The working relationship between the teacher and the TA is key, it requires giving up some level of control for it to work well.

    As a TA in a heavily TA'd school I would say it couldn't function without us. I do feel that Heads should deal with TAs that are not doing their jobs, there are plenty of people willing to fill the role.

    It's time that some teachers stopped looking down on TAs, well-qualified or not, experience is worth a lot. We are well-oiled cogs in the machine and everybody benefits. I can tell you that there are children in our classes who would not be reading if it were not for the TAs, and if they can't read they can't access the curriculum.

    The kids love us, it's a shame that some teachers don't, although I am pleased to say that this attitude does not prevail in my school.
  10. And if that contained any typos you must forgive me, it's late and I have been studying for my degree all weekend!
  11. roise

    roise New commenter

    When I read this thread I don't see teachers looking down on T.A.'s but I do see some T.A.'s being quite hostile to teachers. I have worked with some wonderful T.A.'s who do a remarkable and valuable job however I do believed that all children deserve a trained qualified teacher and all the evidence from research around the world backs this up. Of these teachers many of the best are T.A.'s who have gone on to get their degrees and teaching qualifications.
  12. A little boy was having difficulty lifting a heavy stone. His father came along just then. Noting the boy?s failure, he asked, "Are you using all your strength?"

    "Yes, I am," the little boy said impatiently.

    "No, you are not," the father answered. "I am right here just waiting, and you haven?t asked me to help you."
  13. Wholeheartedly agree with this comment. I have been working as a level 3 TA for a number of years and have been employed in the same setting for 11 years, recently we have employed a new teacher to work in KS1/Reception and she has certainly put herself on a pedestal and treats me with a distinct lack of respect. However she still expects me to deliver the entire EYFS curriculum to the reception class, she does the planning but this is as far as her input goes regarding the reception class! I am also expected to lead whole classes for 6 hours a week, several of these sessions i am expected to plan myself. Also i have sole responsibilty for the KS1/Reception for 4 afternoons per week and i am often left with little or no planning!
  14. That sounds like your making the correct use of your TA Elizabeth. However I would argue that tafkam's evidence maybe scewed and that a TA's are not necassarily as underskilled or ineffective as she makes out!? Again their role and effectivness relies upon the quality of our planning and our ability to work "with" TA's. I know a collegue for example who has their TA sat in silence basically observing their lesson. What a waste of time that is... of course that TA's impact on achievment will be neglible.
    Anyway, the role of the TA was developed as a support for the teacher to reduce our work load... my TA does exactly that. I know i'm probably pretty lucky here, but she is is level 5 qualified (which lets face it is a degree without the disertation), she aids planning and making observations, helps to set up and clean down the classroom and activily seeks out jobs which need doing plus much much more. She really knows her stuff as do many, so although a note book type affair may be a good solution for sum, in my case it could be deemed condesending...
    To sum up, i think that TA's where appropriate should do jobs to free up our time yes. But where they can really excell is with small groups and tasks aimed to support the learning of those children at the top and bottom of a class who need that extra little bit of attention to help them reach their full potentail.
  15. You obviously don't have excellent TA's like I do. Sometimes a TA has more natural skill with children than highly qualified expensive teachers. I value my TA's and , as a result, get brilliant work from them.

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