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Is anyone here a teaching assistant?

(62 Posts)
Lime123 Fri 22-Jun-18 08:58:02

I currently work pretty much full time in a job I don’t really like. I’ve just had twins and am on maternity leave. I also have another child about to start school.

I’ve been thinking about next steps in terms of my career. I could return to my job but literally all my money will be going on childcare. They also won’t let me drop below my current hours (and I HAVE to go in everyday, so don’t get a full day off)

Was thinking about a teaching assistant post...

Benefits being:
-actually something I might enjoy
-can pick kids up after school potentially
-every school holiday off
-more flexibility for part time hours
-pays significantly less but right now I’m working all the hours and giving nearly all of it to someone else to see my kids

Is anyone a ta here? If you don’t mind me asking, what sort of take home salary might you expect each month? I’m not even sure this is a viable option

Do you enjoy your job? Did you have to do any other qualifications? I have a life science degree so not at all related.


Lime123 Fri 22-Jun-18 10:13:36

Nobody? Maybe I’m posting in wrong bit

MissEliza Fri 22-Jun-18 10:16:08

I recently left my role as a TA and I have to say if you're motivation is solely to suit your family, then I'm not sure how suited you are to the role. The thing also about working in a school is it is very difficult to take time off in term time for family reasons.

Lime123 Fri 22-Jun-18 10:24:36

I wouldn’t say that’s my only motivation. Truth is I’m a bit lost in terms of my career. I work in pharmaceuticals and I don’t enjoy the corporate work style.

I want to do something that makes me feel good and like I’m making a difference but sadly at 35 I feel like I’ve missed the boat and it would be too late to retrain given my family commitments.

I’d hope that working with people/kids would provide some sense of job satisfaction. Certainly more than I get now.

MyNameIsFartacus Fri 22-Jun-18 10:35:13

I used to be a ta and hated it, worst job I ever had. Zero job satisfaction, high stress, treated like crap by my boss, money absolutely rubbish. Didn't feel I made a jot of difference. I now work as a healthcare assistant at a hospital and feel I make a difference on a daily basis!

PotteringAlong Fri 22-Jun-18 10:36:29

You’d be better off retraining as a secondary science teacher.

Sleepyblueocean Fri 22-Jun-18 10:45:49

I'm not a TA but I am the parent of a child with sn. I think you need to bear in mind that most of your work will be working with children like mine even if the post is a class TA ( and there are fewer of those posts around now). I think you should really want to work with those children and it is hard work and a demanding role.

Haberpop Fri 22-Jun-18 10:57:21

I used to be a TA initially in mainstream primary then in special education and I loved it, I only stopped because I wanted freedom from the restriction on holidays. My kids had grown up and finished school so I wanted to be able to take holidays outside of the peak months.

Pay wasn't fantastic especially in mainstream, the special school TAs in the county I worked in were paid more than their mainstream equivalents but the role was tougher with far more responsibility. I worked 32.5 hours a week and was paid for 43 weeks a year, the salary was paid over 12 months which meant we took home slightly less than we earned each working month but it meant we did get paid for August. I had great job satisfaction, I really felt I made a difference to the pupils and the teachers I worked with.

I have also worked in healthcare (still do) and I get great job satisfaction from that too but the hours are shite especially if you have a young family.

Lime123 Fri 22-Jun-18 10:57:59

Gosh it’s almost as hated as a teaching role on mumsnet! It’s such a shame because it’s one of those jobs that in theory should be great, agree it should pay more and should provide more job satisfaction.

I would enjoy working with children that have sn. It’s a challenging and demanding role as you say but I wouldn’t let that put me off. My current job is demanding too but probably in completely different ways.

mangomama91 Fri 22-Jun-18 11:07:33

I'm currently trying to get back into a TA role after not working for a while. I LOVED my job as a TA and I want to be a teacher in the future (has always been my career goal). I think it may be difficult to start the same time your child is starting school just because it's not always flexible to get time off for things like children's plays, sports day etc if you work Ina different school to your child.
You do need to have a real passion for working with children and understand that it's not just an easy job. It's so very rewarding, pay isn't great but then you do get all of that school holiday to spend with your children!
If you're serious I think why not have a look into it but you definitely do need to have a genuine like for children and want to work with them.

It's a bit difficult if you're needing to go back to work full time soon but if you can it would be a good idea to help out in your child's school for a bit as a parent helper maybe to read with children etc and see if it is something you'd like to do.

Sorry if I've rambled on a bit

OctoberMarch Fri 22-Jun-18 11:08:58

I was a TA before maternity leave and can honestly say I loved it. The pay was poor, admittedly, but I definitely had job satisfaction. I worked one to one and watching the child I worked with learn and develop was amazing.

Maybe I was lucky with my school and colleagues, but I’m hoping to go back when my kids are in school

Moonkissedlegs Fri 22-Jun-18 11:09:52

I was briefly a TA before I became a teacher. It's a great job, all the best bits of being in a school with a lot less responsibility than teaching, you get the holidays etc.

But the money is absolutely dire.

CurbsideProphet Fri 22-Jun-18 11:11:04

I worked as a TA in secondary for a school year and a bit. Some of the pupils were awful to me "you're just a TA" and the teachers did nothing about it. The SENCO had her long standing favourites, plus a lot of the teachers were very patronising. I have a degree and was going to stay for a few years, but I ended up desperate to leave after the first day!

Sorry to be so negative, but I think it very much depends on what attitude the school and teachers have towards the TAs.

Sistersofmercy101 Fri 22-Jun-18 11:11:22

With respect -you don't mention any experience of working with children with special. You don't mention any relevant qualifications. I retrained as a sn ta and work hard continually retraining to stay current and further my skills to best support the children I work with. So yes, it may work as role for you - but what would you bring to the role? These are children who require individuals who want to work with them not just their school hours and holidays.

BrutusMcDogface Fri 22-Jun-18 11:14:38

One thing I can add is that the working hours might mean that you can't do drop offs and pick ups for your own children, unless you with at their school. You'll probably be expected to be there for 8.30/45, until 3.30 if you work all day. You'd then have to pay childcare for two (your twins) out of a very paltry TA wage which might mean making a loss.

Have a look on your local education authority's website for vacancies. I also agree that volunteering is a great idea as many schools will want qualifications now but if you have volunteering experience then that might make you more appealing.

In short, I don't think it's the ideal "mum job" it sounds like!

Lime123 Fri 22-Jun-18 11:31:59

What would I bring? Whilst I don’t yet have any experience of working in a school, I would hope to gain some. I’d hope that my degree would show that I have some level of English/maths/science skills. Also my current role could be used to demonstrate other skills (team work, problem solving, multitasking etc)

Notso Fri 22-Jun-18 12:15:48

I think you would have to look at getting a qualification. I have a level 3 diploma which I got through evening school while working as SN support, I had previous experience as a nursery nurse though. However I've been out of work for 7 years and although was offered a job recently at my kids school it was on the condition I updated my qualification.
I found the job generally rewarding but also emotionally and physically challenging. The pay was rubbish given the level of responsibility. I think I got around £600-700 pm. For us this was fine, our lives are based on one wage so anything I earn gets used for treats and mortgage overpayments. I only had to pay for childcare for an hour once a week to attend a staff meeting, the other days I ran from school to work and back again at 3pm. My parents and in-laws helped on training days and also when the kids were ill.

Loandbeholdagain Fri 22-Jun-18 12:26:10

I'm a teacher not TA but ..
Pros - school holidays
Cons - you likely won't get given time off to see your children's performances/sports days etc. You can't just take annual leave.
- If your children are sick it causes massive problems taking time off. You are only entitled to a short period to organise someone else to care for them. Many schools, this would be a morning.
You can't work flexibly or from home
Family weddings etc usually hard to attend.
You use a lot of patience with other people's children, sometimes meaning you have less left for your own!

ta2018 Fri 22-Jun-18 12:50:16

I'm a TA. I'm a one-to-one TA to a child with special needs. It's a very rewarding job but it is also very hard and stressful sometimes. I had previous TA experience (a classroom TA, not SEN) before I started this role, but no formal TA qualifications. At my previous job, most of the TAs had no formal TA qualifications. At my current job, there is a mix of HLTAs and others like me without formal training. Since being in this role I have also trained as an ELSA, so there can be opportunities for further training.

I work 18 hours a week and earn approx £7400 a year. It's paid in 12 monthly instalments so we get paid during the holidays. My salary is slightly higher than some other TAs because of it being a one-to-one role.

Most of the TAs work full-time, starting at 8.30am and finishing at 3.45pm. Most have children at the school so dropping off/picking up is not an issue, but sometimes it means their children waiting around after school for a bit until they finish. I get a childminder to collect my own DC as I don't work in the same school as my DC. Once a week there is a meeting after work for an hour. A few TAs also run after school clubs or lunchtime clubs.

The cons are not being able to attend my own DC's assemblies, sports days etc. My work do let me sometimes but I can't be there for everything so I do miss out. Where as those who have DC in the school I work in are there for these things, so it's worth thinking about whether you'd rather work at the same school or not. The school holidays are a plus, but also a con in the fact that you can't take holiday any other time, so if anything comes up, a wedding, family event etc you can't take it off. I've never taken DC out of school for a holiday during term-time, but you might want to and you won't be able to get the time off for that either.

Also when there's an inset day, you have to be in, so it means getting childcare for your own DC (if they're at the same school). If your DC are at a different school and have an inset day, you'll be working, so again childcare will be needed. DC had 3 days in a row of inset days last year and I had to work which was a shame. It's little things like that, that can be a con to the job.

Moonkissedlegs Fri 22-Jun-18 13:19:01

It depends as well if you want to be a general class teaching assistant (a job which seems to be on the decline as funding goes down the pan) or a 1 to 1 SN assistant.

From what I have seen as a teacher, the latter is much more difficult. You are with the same child all the time, and if they are a particularly difficult child it can be very, very draining. Obviously really rewarding as well, especially if you do develop a good relationship, but all day every day can be tough sometimes.

Moonkissedlegs Fri 22-Jun-18 13:20:03

I don't think you would need any formal prior training though. Most of the TAs at my school didn't have any coming into the job.

peridito Fri 22-Jun-18 13:43:03

So much depends on the school and the attitude of the head and other staff .

I have found schools incredibly cliquey and some are like closed communities .

My son is currently working as a TA in a school for secondary age children with additional needs .It sounds very challenging to me but he much prefers it to working with children with additional needs in mainstream schools where the schools he's been in have really struggled to accomodate such children ( not surprising as so many demands on teachers )

I'd definitely go for it ,don't be put off by some of the posts on here .

BrutusMcDogface Fri 22-Jun-18 13:48:05

Actually, the school I last taught in, now has loads of parents or past parents working as LSAs. They got their feet in the door by doing lots of volunteering; school trips, listening to readers etc. Maybe you could try that when your eldest starts school.

MissEliza Fri 22-Jun-18 15:03:15

I've got to say I love working with kids but I don't think I'll accept another TA role. I worked as a TA principally because I used to teach ESL to children abroad then did a post graduate certificate in teaching children with literacy difficulties. My dh got transferred back here but obviously I didn't have QTS. I feel the pay is crap and the expectations are enormous especially if you are working with SEN children. It also shocked me how poorly qualified some of my colleagues were yet some were just left to get on with it with little training. I was not involved in decisions that would directly affect the pupils I was working with as I was only a TA yet I knew the children best. For example one child was allowed to go on a school trip despite having a meltdown in the morning and swearing at me. I really didn't think he should go.He ended up running off on the trip and it took three of us to stay with him til his mother arrived.

MissEliza Fri 22-Jun-18 15:06:33

Sorry that sounds so negative but school staff are under a lot of pressure these days. I feel for teachers but they do get better salaries (not enough) and job security but TAs barely get more than a McDonalds assistant and their hours can change from year to year.

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