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Becoming or being a teaching assistant?

(20 Posts)
Patilla Thu 17-Oct-13 22:46:12

Hi I'm considering alternative roles at present. I'm currently in a professional role with job specific graduate and post graduate qualifications.

I've always liked the idea of teaching but all the paperwork and admin seems to be fairly incompatible with being a mum of young children.

I was wondering does a teaching assistant post avoid these issues or actually end up more admin/red tape based?

In relation to qualifications and experience what would I realistically need to have to get a post?

All experiences of harsh reality welcome!

Thanks in advance.

spanieleyes Fri 18-Oct-13 06:50:31

being a TA avoids some of the paperwork you have mentioned but not all! TAs are still expected to write up lesson and group notes but certainly not. to the extent teachers are! There may be some preparations needed for intervention group work but it is possible just to work the hours you re paid for and nothing else ( which is impossible as a teacher!) BUT most good TAs do FAR more than their job description ( my TA ran up a medieval costume overnight because a child had nothing to wear) Being creative helps, TAs who can throw up a display of dubious looking art work and make it look fabulous are a god-send. There are qualifications you can take ( all our TAs have a level 3 NVQ) but some gained it in the job . Most if our TAs started as dinner ladies (as they can be hard to find) and volunteered in the classroom at the same time whilst getting their qualification. Contrary to popular opinion, we don't just take on " yummy mummy" applicants

Patilla Fri 18-Oct-13 07:01:49

That's interesting.

I love being creative, it's always something I miss from my current job. Not sure I could stretch to a medieval costume overnight but I can make a mean gruffalo!!

Can I ask a couple of stupid questions pls? Presumably the NVQ is a teaching one? Do schools advertise for volunteers as I've not seen anything like that in our school. Would that be on individual school websites?

cherrytomato40 Fri 18-Oct-13 07:07:13

I love being a TA, I've done it for just over a year. You do need to get some experience before you apply, can you volunteer in a local school? I don't have any TA qualifications, most TAs in our school don't, although I'm sure it wouldn't hurt.

I took the job to get some experience before doing a pgce- now I've decided I don't fancy being a teacher after all after seeing how much they work!!

TA pay is rubbish though. But the holidays are nice.

Patilla Fri 18-Oct-13 07:15:08

I think I'll have to have a look around. This is a bit of a long term plan as DD is still a baby but I'm at real risk of redundancy so it's been a bit of a kick start to actually think more about this rather than just wondering and bugging DH with the idea.

I looked up posts so was prepared about the wage. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't cover DD's nursery costs so it will have to wait a bit but if there are qualifications and experience I can gain then it's something I can work on - and use to get a feel if it's right for me.

flyingwidow Fri 18-Oct-13 07:17:10

I am currently in the throes of a career change to be a TA. I am undertaking a level 3 award in supporting teaching and learning in schools. I am doing this at a college locally. I currently volunteer one morning a week at the local school and will increase this to 2 mornings when the course is over and have a bit more time. I have a pre-school dc- who will be starting school in September, so my career change is driven by wanting a job that fits around school hours. I have no idea if I'll find a job next year but am prepared to do most roles in order to get my 'in'! I too am post graduate educated an hoping that all of the above may set me apart from the other applicants!

Caitycat Fri 18-Oct-13 07:35:56

A lot of schools will want you to have or to work towards an nvq level 2 or 3. Unfortunately it can be a hard job to get hold of, in my area I know of several qualified teachers who have become TAs because they don't want the stress of teaching. I also know a lot of people who have done the job voluntarily (sometimes for years) until a paid post came up and at least a couple of those have self funded their nvq to improve their chances. I would try and get in touch with a local school and find out a bit about the situation in your area. Sorry to be negative - I hope you do find something.

Patilla Fri 18-Oct-13 07:56:37

Negativity is fine. I wanted a good dose of realism.

As much as I love the idea I dont want to invest all my time in a pipe dream that won't happen, especially if that investment takes me away from my children at times. It's ok if it's for an end goal.

Unfortunately we are by sufficiently wealthy for me to work long term in something voluntary. We might not even be able to survive without me bringing in some wage, so this would have to be for a realistic prospect of a job at the end of it rather than a highly qualified voluteer!

Thank you for the comments they have given me a helpful starting point and food for thought.

The possible redundant is a bit of a red herring tbh I had already been talking with DH anyway about me possibly changing careers when both children are at school as I will have time to volunteer and train so it's not dependant on me losing my job just a bit more delayed.

cassgate Fri 18-Oct-13 13:14:00

I have just secured a post as a part time ta at my dc's school. Its only for 5 hours a week whilst I am studying for the qcf level 3 diploma supporting teaching and learning in schools. I have been lucky as I do a lot of volunteer work at the school so am known to them. However, I would say that competition now for ta jobs is fierce or at least it is where I am and you would be lucky to get a job without the qualifications and experience. I had originally applied for a full time ta's job at the school but didn't get it despite my being known to school and having extensive volunteer experience. There were loads of applicants but only 5 people interviewed. I was just lucky that at the same time they had an existing unqualified ta at the school who had requested a reduction in hours so they offered her hours to me.

cassgate Fri 18-Oct-13 13:20:18

Also would say that many of the ta's I know have been in the job years and got the jobs pretty much by default, by volunteering at the school and then being offered the jobs. None of them have any ta qualifications. It is very different now and volunteering alone is by no means a guarantee that you will get a job, in my case the head knew I was already studying for the relevant qualification and knew my reputation as a good quality volunteer.

Paddlinglikehell Fri 18-Oct-13 15:51:02

Hi. I am a TA. I did my NVQ Supporting Teaching and Learning, at college one night a week for 7 months. Part of the course is doing 120 or so hours ( can't remember the exact amount) of work experience on placement. I did 2 days a week in Key Stage 2, however, this was on a voluntary basis, so not paid. I can't afford to do my Level 3, unless I get a paid job in a junior school and there were no vacancies at the school I was at.

I had to have a placement before starting college, so rang around the local schools., but it wasn't easy to get in. I loved it, but having qualified, the jobs are few and far between, unless you are are experienced in special needs, such as behaviour issues and ADHD. Most of the jobs are filled within the school, although they do get advertised, so people apply and don't stand a chance.

I now work with older students in college, but it is more support on an individual basis than a TA.

Pay is low, around £8 per hour max. And you don't usually get paid in the holidays either.

It is great being in class, without the stress and responsibility that a teacher has. Everyone keeps telling me I should do my PGCE and teach, the school offered to support me, but I just enjoyed being a TA!

ihearsounds Fri 18-Oct-13 17:02:21

Hi I am a TA. Yes I still have paperwork to do, albeit not as much as the teacher. I am involved in planning lessons and helping with the iep's. I have to write reports about how lessons went, what worked well and what didn't, and provide evidence to back this up, this is recorded on paper and electronically. I am observed every term, and have a yearly review. I have to undergo regular training, as in line with our school policy.

My day, along with collegues, does not start at 9 and finish at 3:30, once a week we are expected to be in at 8:30, another day finish later. Training often goes beyond 3:30. On the days we technically finish at 3:30, very rare have we stopped working at this time.

When positions do come up, which, btw are few and far between, and because of cutbacks etc, lots of TA's are being let go, schools can be very picky about who they choose. Competition is very stiff, depending on the area, they can attract a lot of applications. They are very good at weeding out the, I want the job to fit around, and those with a passion. The latter get the interviews.

Find out locally what qualifications they require. Only a few are accepted, even though there are lots of courses out there. The reason why not all are accepted is because some do not require any class based work.

Too volunteer with schools. They generally don't advertise. You have to approach them, leave the details they require and maybe you will get a call.

Patilla Fri 18-Oct-13 17:06:04

Oh dear, so difficult to get into.

Well better pre-warned.

Thank you everyone for your responses. It's such early days I didn't want to ask anyone in rl in case they laughed at the idea that I could do this.

Patilla Fri 18-Oct-13 17:11:25

I can't volunteer at present anyway with DD but I'll phone around as soon as it becomes possible.

So many people in rl would think me crazy to leave a professional job that I have part time but it just doesn't give me satisfaction.

I'd go for teaching itself ideally but I don't want to spend the DC's lives doing all the extra stuff I see teacher friends having to do. Maybe a long way down the line, maybe not.

I just want to make a difference to real people, to children. A good start can shape the rest of your lives.

It's a shame it's so competitive but I'm not put off but am gratefully more aware thank you.

movingaway Fri 18-Oct-13 19:00:34

Don't be put off- and any type of volunteering with kids is useful- for example I had been a very active committee member at DD's preschool and the manager there wrote me a fab reference, which I am sure was a big help.

At ny school it still seems very much that volunteers are first in line for TA jobs so it is a good way in if you can manage it.

shedgirl Sat 21-Oct-17 17:50:12

I've worked as a primary teaching assistant for 12 years. I started as a volunteer helper in my children's school and took the initiative by studying a level 2 course. After 6 months I was offered a job.
It was great when my children were young as I had the same holidays as them (unpaid), as I had little support from family. I loved working in the Early Years and was very creative in my role and given a lot of responsibility.
There are many different roles for teaching assistants - general class TA, 1 to 1, intervention groups, we have 1 nursery nurse, who was downgraded to a level 3, and 1 new level 3 who covers classes. The rest of us are still paid at level 2.
So the pay is still low and I always seem to have to do unpaid overtime to keep on top of my work. I am rushed off my feet all day. It can be quite physical - sitting on tiny chairs, on the floor or in draughty corridors, lots of outdoor activities in all weathers, short breaks and constantly on 'first aid' call. I am very conscientious about my job and sometimes I need to say 'no'. Others seem to get away with doing not very much to be honest.
There is little opportunity for progression, even though I have since studied level 3 and at degree level at my own expense. I was offered the GTP, but by the time my children were older, my parents were ill and needed caring for. I do cover whole classes, but I no longer want to become a teacher - after all the studying and caring for family - I'm knackered tbh.
Myself and many more are searching for new jobs for extra money. A colleague of mine is in dire straits financially. I think I should have moved on when my children were in high school to be honest as my job prospects are now bleak.
I keep reminding myself that I am doing this because I like working with children.....or I'm told, 'this is not a career but a vocation for you', but I'm not a charity, I have teenagers going off to uni to support and quite frankly, sometimes my teacher is really taking the mickey.
I don't want to put you off but do you really think that you would enjoy being told what to do by a young NQT after having a higher position and settle for a lower income? However I completely understand wanting a role that fits in with family commitments.

Hope I haven't been too depressing! lol

JungleExplorer Sun 22-Oct-17 08:01:48

ZOMBIE THREAD from 2013.

jamdonut Sun 22-Oct-17 10:37:58

I know this is a zombie thread, but I need to comment on what shed girl said about not wanting to be told what to do by an NQT...
I have been a TA for 9 years now.
I am 53, and my current teacher has just finished his NQT year( he's 25). We get on on fine. I have the same respect for him as the other teachers, and he respects my experience and often asks for my suggestions / guidance.But at the end of the day, I go by his instructions. If you can't accept a class teacher who is younger than you, then it is definitely not the right job for you!

jellycat1 Mon 23-Oct-17 09:28:12

Could I please ask does anyone know what the salary range is for a ta in London? Asking for a buddy. Thanks smile

shedgirl Mon 23-Oct-17 21:05:10

lol I didn't see the date on this thread!

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