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To think a teaching assistant job isn't that desirable?

(49 Posts)
Midge1978 Tue 17-Oct-17 16:25:21

I’ve wanted to be a primary school TA for a while but I’ve heard several accounts lately from teaching assistants feeling put upon and it seems the same sort if things - having to replace a teacher at short notice with no extra pay, having to supervise large amounts of children single handedly at break times and being made to work longer hours than agreed. Are there any teaching assistants out there who can shed any light on this at all? Thanks x

Thirtyrock39 Tue 17-Oct-17 16:27:31

I think it's pretty standard what you have described it's a lot more supervision and classroom management than a lot of people realise. Hours wise tas are usually pretty good at sticking to their contracted times though and rightly so as it's not a well paid job

Appuskidu Tue 17-Oct-17 16:28:21

It's desirable in that they tend to have the same holidays as their children and don't have to find holiday or wrap around childcare. The job itself is poorly paid.

papayasareyum Tue 17-Oct-17 16:30:33

when these threads come up on Mumsnet, people always come on to say that TAs aren’t allowed to teach or lead a class (unless they’re a HLTA) but having been a long term regular volunteer in a school, I know that TAs are often left in charge of whole classes, teaching, supervising, doing almost everything a teacher does

ZippyCameBack Tue 17-Oct-17 16:31:02

It is a desirable job, purely because it's (more-or-less) school hours and term time. I'm sure the pay is rubbish and there is a lot more stress than people might imagine, but it's so hard to find a job that fits in with family life that I can see why there would be a lot of competition for the available jobs.

catchingzzzeds Tue 17-Oct-17 16:31:24

I think it largely depends on the school.
I'm a TA in a primary school.
- I don't feel put upon and am supported well
- I am asked to do extras but I can always decline and I'm paid for every extra hour worked
- I do occasionally take the class alongside another TA but don't mind this as it's not often
- I work in the reception class so we keep to ratios all the time

I think you have to start as you mean to go on i.e. It would be easy to throw myself in and volunteer for everything but I have young children of my own so keep a balance. Some TAs at my school run after school clubs but there is no expectation.

thecatfromjapan Tue 17-Oct-17 16:33:51

It depends on the school. Some schools are very protective of their staff - including TAs - and wouldn't do any of the things you describe. Other schools ...

It can be an absolutely amazing job.

PinguDance Tue 17-Oct-17 16:36:05

I and a friend of mine have found secondary easier than primary - more structure and more staff generally looking after things. Having said that the behaviour at my school is good and seems to be avoiding the worst budget cuts (I don't know how, it's almost suspicious).

When a relative of mine was asked to actually lead classes as a TA she got her Union involved and refused, if you've got the gumption you can avoid doing the stuff that is categorically outside your job description. Certainly no one even asks me to do that sort of thing -cos I shouldn't be doing it.

WorraLiberty Tue 17-Oct-17 16:37:52

Depending on where you live, it can be very hard to get a job as a TA because so many vacancies end up being filled by ex teachers.

Firefries Tue 17-Oct-17 16:37:56

Personally I think that's all fine. So long as it's only every now and then and not everyday I am okay with all that. I havent been in a position where that has happened all the time though and I always felt supported whatever was happening. The school I worked with had great line managers / teams so I always felt if I wasn't happy that they would do something. And no I didn't work longer hours than needed. I was the TA and I put my hours in and got paid that's it. It's a basic role TBH, so long as you care about the kids, support the teacher, and genuinely want to see the kids to do well, you'll make a good TA.

Awwlookatmybabyspider Tue 17-Oct-17 16:37:57

My mum was a T.A she loved it, but she'd tell you it was bloody hard work, and very physical.
There were many times that she was left alone to take a class. My mum didn't mind though. However if Ofsted had have walked in they'd have gone ballistic.
Its obviously the type of job you do because you love kids and love to see them learning not for the 12 weeks a year holidays.
My mum said the best thing about her job was when a child was struggling to read and it clicked with them or seeing them move on to the next reading stage.
She loved the fact that not only was it rewarding but the job had an end product

Awwlookatmybabyspider Tue 17-Oct-17 16:38:49

My mum always finished bang on time

youarenotkiddingme Tue 17-Oct-17 16:50:24

The job has changed.

It's no longer a job where you are a teachers assistant and it's accepted you are usually a parent working around raising children - and that you need to stick to working hours etc.

I don't think a level of expectation of being to effectively educate is a bad thing - which is one of the requirements looked at nowadays.

However there is an increased expectation you will teach a whole class - even if just for an hour, that you happily stay for meetings etc after school and in my la you now have performance targets which determine pay rises just like teachers.

It's becoming harder to retain TAs nowadays because the respect for them isn't what it once was either.

Uokbing Tue 17-Oct-17 16:52:04

when these threads come up on Mumsnet, people always come on to say that TAs aren’t allowed to teach or lead a class (unless they’re a HLTA) but having been a long term regular volunteer in a school, I know that TAs are often left in charge of whole classes, teaching, supervising, doing almost everything a teacher does

Ok, I have worked with many amazing TAs over the years, I think they unfairly get paid peanuts, and I would never want to diminish what they do.

However, they absolutely do not do almost everything a teacher does. Not even close. Being left in charge of a class, teaching and supervising are the tip of the iceberg of a teacher's job.

I will probably be leaving teaching in the next year or so as I can't stand the bullshit anymore, and am planning on becoming one of the aforementioned job stealing TAs. All the best bits of working with kids and being in school, with none of the crap (or the pay unfortunately but I feel like life has to come first for me).

It is a desirable job if you have to fit around kids, but yes, the pay is absolutely pants.

Elpheba Tue 17-Oct-17 16:52:40

The TA in my class is amazing and essentially "works to rule" in that she stays in the staff room until the minute school starts and she generally leaves bang on the bell. I've had comments from other teachers but I don't blame her at all and always stand up for her. Given how low the pay is and how hard they work, I don't think they should be volunteering hours of their own time! But yes I think it is desirable in the way it fits in with family life and is interesting and varied and I'm tempted to do it when my DC are school age as I'm not sure how I'd cope with teaching full time and kids so if I can't get a part time teaching job I'll apply for TA positions most likely.

Uokbing Tue 17-Oct-17 16:54:23

And no SLT can make you cover classes on your own unless you are a HLTA. You just say no. Some TAs stay late out of goodwill, but like with teachers that is fast dwindling as you just get shat upon, but you are under no obligation to stay past the hours you are paid for.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Tue 17-Oct-17 16:55:38

TAs can be asked to plan, deliver and assess intervention for individuals and groups and observed and performance managed on the children's progress much as a teacher would be.

They are often also asked to teach/ manage the most complex learners in the school, sometimes without much specialist training or ongoing support. I have known TAs on their knees dealing with challenging children day in day out and stressed out by the great expectations put on them by the class teacher to get the same work out of that child as the rest of the class.

It can be a very demanding job.

Normalserviceissuspended Tue 17-Oct-17 16:55:47

Very hard to get a TA job. Lots of redundancies due to budget cuts and restructuring.

Hardest job to get in education is school admin or school business manager.

Schmoopy Tue 17-Oct-17 16:58:18

when these threads come up on Mumsnet, people always come on to say that TAs aren’t allowed to teach or lead a class (unless they’re a HLTA) but having been a long term regular volunteer in a school, I know that TAs are often left in charge of whole classes, teaching, supervising, doing almost everything a teacher does

I read posts like this and I think I have an insight into why there is such little respect for teachers.

I too have worked with some fantastic TAs. A good TA is absolutely worth their weight in gold, and does a fabulous job, but there is no way a TA does anything close to doing what a teacher does, let alone "almost everything".

I can never work out whether these posts are intended to be offensive or are just naive.

Uokbing Tue 17-Oct-17 17:02:29

Yes Schmoopy i thought it was just me being sensitive to be a bit offended by that post!

JungleExplorer Tue 17-Oct-17 17:03:10

I volunteer as an LSA as they are now called in my school (Learning Support Mentor) and yes you can make it as hard as you like.

You are paid very little but the upside for lots of LSA/TAs is that they themselves are parents sometimes with children in the same school. So all inset/holidays are the same and you don't have to pay for childcare.

Most TAs I work with start at their contracted time if not 5 minutes earlier and leave on time too. You can be a cover supervisor if you wish but most of them are HLTAs but not all. But there is no extra money in it.

And yes the job is very different from being a teacher with all the lesson planning, marking, assessments etc that they have to do.

But I love it, that is why I volunteer to do it because the staff in the school make it lovely and fun and the children are fab, most of them anyway grin

papayasareyum Tue 17-Oct-17 17:12:43

I want being snippy about TAs at al. I think they’re wonderful. I think they work their socks off above and beyond the job. I think the same of teachers.
I was just remembering old threads where teachers would come on (to the thread) to say that people were lying about TAs supervising the whole class. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, so it’s absolutely true! I shouldn’t have said they do “almost as much” because that’s an exaggeration obviously, but they do far more than the job description and far more than ofsted would be happy about.

AtHomeDadGlos Tue 17-Oct-17 17:15:40

papa there’s no way a TA does ‘nearly as much’ as a teacher.

Shockers Tue 17-Oct-17 17:15:55

I do at least 90 minutes extra in school every day, plus resource making and other work at home. TAs have usually been expected to run one after school activity, in the three schools I've worked in. This has been unpaid and we can say no, but the hours go to the willing TAs when timetables are being drawn up.
I've been doing this job for 15 years now, and I'm wondering what else is out there. I don't mind doing extra hours and I love the children, but I often feel it's unfair to expect every child to learn in the same environment. I've become frustrated by this and I'm thinking I would like to go down the Forest Schools path.

papayasareyum Tue 17-Oct-17 17:18:46

yeah, I’ve clarified that. See above.
They do work incredibly hard though and HLTAs especially. It’s poorly paid for the amount of work they do. I think it used to be thought of as a little job women could fit around the kids and this is probably why it doesn’t pay enough. It’s not fair. If it was a male dominated role, it would pay far more. The same applies to many other jobs too, sadly

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