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teaching assistants-useful asset or a bit of a pain...? any views?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by hexenkueche, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. Most of TAs I work with are really lovely although I did have a weird experience a while ago with a TA who insisted on shouting at the whole class while I taught. It was really annoying and totally overreacting to the behaviour, think she'd just had a bad few days!
  2. There are awful people in all walks of life, and that doesn't exclude teachers!
    For every hellish story you can recount about a TA, there is (I promise!) just as bad a story for an appalling teacher.

    Just yesterday, my yr 7 came home and told me her friend was made to write out the first pages of the dictionary, and when she had finished, the teacher (with a big evil smirk on her face), took the pages, ripped them to shreds in front of her and the class, and then tossed them in the bin telling her "that was a waste of time, wasn't it?"
    On top of this a black mark was put against her name in the class register, and she was threatened with detention if she did it again.

    What dreadful crime had the year 7 committed????
    She had forgotten her reading book, the first week into a new year and school, whilst she is still getting into her new timetable etc.

    (The book she has to read when the teacher is doing something other than what she is supposed to be doing with the class. like marking books for another group when she should be teaching......)

  3. 'They're bitter underachievers'

    A bit of a generalisation I feel. Yes, some are underqualified people with no experience of children other than having had some of their own. On the other hand, some are very well-qualified but don't want/need a full-time/well-paid job.

    I see this from all sides. I was a TA, then a teacher, now a TA again. Not because I failed as a teacher (I didn't!) but because I don't currently want the stress of full-time teaching and all its paperwork.

    I've worked with some shockingly bad TAs and some amazing ones. I've worked with some fantastic teachers and some truly sh*te ones.
  4. Couldn't manage without ours, some are more qualified than I am and on the odd occasion they've done something I didn't agree with we've sorted it out. Talk to them for ***'s sake
  5. thank you for all your posts,my daughter was challenged about having the first tuesday of term off because the teacher had failed to inform herself of the reason-my mother's funeral who died unxpectedly 2 wks previously after having been diagnosed with liver cancer 9 days before.sorry for **** syntax etc!i would class her as a totally sh..e teacher and had to stop myself going in and shooting her myself-old cow!
  6. Leapyearbaby...you don't sound like a TA from hell AT ALL. You sound like someone who is concerned the children learn the correct things in class. :)
  7. At a previous school, I had a TA who got into a stand-up row with a Y10 student (they behaved in exactly the same way as the Y10) and then turned to me and demanded I punish the Y10. It was a proper old barny, not a confrontational-telling-off-gone-wrong. Professionally, you should never undermine a colleague, so this put me in a very tight situation. I asked both to go to two different places and write statements, then wrote my own.

    They also frequently told me how certain students were 'evil' even though they were good for me, wheras others (who they liked) were 'down' if they were naughty.
  8. I've had varying experiences, as with all colleagues. I've had several who were absolutely brilliant, a couple who were mildly annoying and one particular one who drove me mad.
  9. I'm a TA and agree that they should be qualified/experienced but the trouble is the pay is so pitiful. All TA posts in my authority are on scale one except in special schools; they've been trying to encourage people to train as HLTAs to cover classes but won't be paying them any more. I think all the TA's in my school work hard and many work (unpaid) overtime.
  10. Most are absolutely great and so helpful but I have had one experience where it was an assessment lesson and the TA was giving one group loads of help and basically telling them what to do! As I say though, most are fab and I wouldn't be without them. x
  11. I have some amazing TAs who I really couldn't be without, they provide support for both the kids and me!
    They are just so necessary in my school (in fact we have nearly as many TAs as teachers!) due to the massive percentage of SEN kids.
  12. I am 'line manager' - hate the phrase but its on my job description - for our TA's and they are all fabulous, couldn't manage without them. Some are naturally excellent and should be teachers, others started with little experience and confidence but through regular mentoring and training they too are excellent. At the end of the day they need CPD as much as teachers if not more, I introduced a system of Performance Management for our TA's which is almost as rigourous as it is for the teachers, they feel it is a very valuable process for them and it has raised their self esteem and value in the school. They are treated the same as any other member of the teaching staff and therefore have respect from all including the children.
  13. sdm79

    sdm79 New commenter

    I have a TA and she is gorgoues as well as really nice.... so yes, I think TA's are EXCELLENT :)
  14. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I have worked in schools where the TAs were generally not much use. There were all allocated to students and saw their role as their mates.

    Where I am now there are TAs allocated to students and some subject based TAs. The level of professionalism is much higher and the TAs are genuinely interested in the subject you are teaching.

    In any class it is useful having another adult in the room as long as they are switched on.
  15. bevevans22

    bevevans22 Administrator

    As an LSA who works with a child who requires a lot of specialised input to manage in mainstream I'd like to say a something here.

    I came into being an LSA after a fulfilling time as a community artist. I am not an 'underachiever' as one poster suggested. I left school with 3 'A' levels, 13 'O' levels and 4 CSEs. I have a full degree. I got into SEN because I was an EXREMELY pro-active parent (the one most LEAs and SENCos hate)and ensured my child got the support he was entitled to. I still do. Whilst working at my child's old school (as an artist) the headteacher asked me if I'd consider a job supporting a child with a similar range of disabilities to my son as they did not have anyone suitable and interviewing had drawn a blank. I accepted as I felt I could help this child and its family, and this has been the case.

    I feel I do a good job. 4 years down the line all involved are astounded by her progress and she loves school. Most teachers I have worked with realise the level of care and adaptation needed to deliver the curriculum and many, including SENCo, ask for advice. On the whole I feel that my job is far more important to this child than a teacher's ever could be.

    I am glad to see that so many of the teachers posting hear have generally positive things to say. I'm sure in all walks of life there are 'people from hell' including teachers and LSAs. But, and this is for Tristessa in particular: if you are paranoid enough to think we are spying then what are you worried about? Most of us have better things to do. And SOME of us may have better qualifications than you so maybe you're the one with the inferiority complex!!!!!!
  16. As most people have said, there are good and bad TAs. Most of the horror stories seem to come from secondary, probably because you work with so many through the week, rather than as in primary where you have a much closer relationship. However, it is still *your* classroom and if they aren't doing what you expect it is up to you to find a way to get it sorted. Either directly or via their line manager.
    And I have to say, I think the OP has got off lightly, as yet again it is a thread about TAs with a somewhat provocative subject heading.
    I wish it could be remembered that TAs are *people* even though they are often treated as part of the furniture!
  17. I have an NQT in my dept this year and she asked me how I coped in my first few weeks. I thought about it and realised it was because of a fabulous TA I had for 3hrs a week. She supported a particular child and had done so since reception (and moved schools with him) so had known quite a few of the students for 7yrs and had known the rest for a year.
    She was (and still is - the child she supported left in yr11 and she stayed with us) brilliant - her relationship with all students is excellent and she deals with both the leaning difficulties and behaviour difficulties instinctively.
    She's no Teaching 'Assistant' - she is the Teacher's PARTNER in the classroom!

    Some other TAs are pretty good at our place too but she is the best.

    I always introduce any TA I have as an equal adult in the classroom so the students respect the instructions from both of us. Unfortunately as I am not a 'core' subject I don't get to see many TAs.
  18. This time last year I would have tended to agree with the fact that TAs are a bit of a pain, to be honest. Even *good* TAs can sometimes be a little bit *too* good. The problem is to a large extent that the role of TA is to support the students and obviously that is a major role for the teacher as well. Like the "two women in the kitchen" idea, I felt very much that it was *my* classroom and I didn't really like having to adapt it for a TA full stop, never mind one who made life harder!

    However, after being at the school a year now I feel far more established with kids and staff alike and feel more confident in instructing TAs. Plus, I do have a very low ability Year 10 group and the extra support is appreciated.

    So much is heard about the valuable input of TAs that I think sometimes people forget about the valuable input of teachers as well! TAs are too often sprinkled almost randomly around the school without any consultation of the teacher. Would it be helpful, I wonder, before timetabling TAs, to look at the following: -

    - What are the class like? TAs are often put with Year 7 classes at our school, which sounds logical enough except when you consider most Year 7s at our place sit in immaculate uniform with pencil cases and shining exercise books out while further up the school Year 10 and Year 11 classes run their teacher ragged with wails of, "Miiiisss! I don't gedddddit!"

    - What is the TA like? Some TAs are enthusiastic and hands-on and as such are probably better suited to younger children, whereas the quieter gentler ones often excel at encouraging a recitant Year 10 to work.

    - What is the teacher like? Does the deputy head really honestly need extra support in his GCSE History group, or would it be better to help the struggling Science NQT?

    - Last and most importantly, DOES THE TEACHER WANT A TA? If not, you're doomed to fail!

    A very useful asset indeed. But a car is only a useful asset if I drive it. Let's use TAs sensibly!
  19. Lizamara

    Lizamara New commenter

    I am almost a qualified teacher now and during my teaching practices i spoke a lot with the TA who was an absolute diamond and was so supportive, however she did raise an issue that wound her up which was being left to teach (planning and marking) lessons during PPA time as the school didnt want to spend money on supply, also she was then planning lessons for the lower ability groups that she was teaching for numeracy and literacy! She wasnt being paid any more money for this and then on top was expected to run an after school club and lunchtime club!
  20. I agree with much of what you say lollyx except the last and 'most important' question of whether or not the teacher 'wants' a TA. This might be a useful question to ask in a good school populated by privileged and high-achieving children with no SEN. However, the reality is that most schools have their fair share of SEN children and it is these that the TA is predominantly there to support, not the teacher. So, in most cases I would say it's irrelevant whether or not the teacher welcomes the TA's support. If there are children in the class who need (and are entitled to) it, then the teacher's desires are neither here nor there.

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