Teaching assistant

(21 Posts)
hhsa Wed 18-Dec-19 14:47:02

Wanted to know how much responsibility does a teaching assistant have to take up

OP’s posts: |
hhsa Wed 18-Dec-19 14:47:56

I'm doing a teaching assistant course and want to know what this job is like

OP’s posts: |
viques Wed 18-Dec-19 15:09:10

Depends on the school, depends on the head, depends on the class teacher.

In a primary school a TA would be working under the guidance of a class teacher, generally they would work with a smaller group of children supporting them with work allocated by the teacher. You would be responsible for teaching the work, possibly marking it, certainly reporting back to the teacher , you would be expected to manage the children's behaviour.

In many schools this could be extended to covering for the teacher and being responsible for the whole class, preparing your own materials for use in the classroom, dealing with children with very specific learning, behavioural needs or needing additional help to access the curriculum.

There will also be other responsibilities, eg first aid ,playground duty, ,preparation of materials, helping with classroom organisation, stock etc.its a very flexible job, and schools tend to work out for themselves what they want TAs to do (and a lot will depend on the age you are teaching) but generally speaking the more competent you prove to be the more they will ask of you.

hhsa Wed 18-Dec-19 15:12:57

Thank you for your reply. At my volunteer today I was sat in the same chair for full morning doing the same thing with children. 2 children at a time. Found it exhausting.

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viques Wed 18-Dec-19 15:34:32

Hhsa, what were you making? Christmas cards or calendars????grin

THat is what happens when you have 30 cards/ hats/Easter chicks to bang out before the end of term. I bet they were glad to have a spare body to make sure the sequins and glue didn't get mixed up together while they tried to catch up on reading groups and last minute assessments.

OK not the most exciting activity but in primary schools these things are important, and it could have been worse, you could have been doing crowd control with the back row of the chorus.

hhsa Wed 18-Dec-19 15:51:31

U r absolutely right. It was calendars.

OP’s posts: |
viques Wed 18-Dec-19 15:56:40



fedup21 Wed 18-Dec-19 16:00:34

Thank you for your reply. At my volunteer today I was sat in the same chair for full morning doing the same thing with children. 2 children at a time. Found it exhausting.

I have to say...most staff in primary schools are generally run off their feet no matter what activity or lesson you’re doing-it WILL be fairly exhausting! If you don’t like that feeling, maybe it isn’t the role for you.

Ours work with individuals or small groups who are struggling on individual targets first thing until phonics starts. They then either support small groups in phonics or ‘teach’ a phonics set of their own. Then small group support during literacy and maths, probably running interventions, photocopying, first aid, playground duty, maybe time to work with any child with SEN, put up a display, change someone’s wet knickers, mop up sick, locate a missing coat, find someone’s dairy-free milk, ring a parent etc etc

Busy busy busy!

ballsdeep Wed 18-Dec-19 16:02:43

You would be working with a lot more than 2 children at a time usually!!!
In my school you would be expected to mark, manage behaviour, possibly cover (sometimes for the whole day), displays, readers etc but under guidance of teachers.
It's not an easy job and I value every single ta so much. They are paid shit wage sfor what they do.

hhsa Wed 18-Dec-19 19:12:07

Oh dear. Thank you for ur descriptive explanation of a TA role.

OP’s posts: |
fedup21 Wed 18-Dec-19 19:29:39

Oh dear. Thank you for ur descriptive explanation of a TA role

Can I ask what you thought the job would entail?

hhsa Wed 18-Dec-19 20:55:13

Actually after being a home maker for so many years, I thought I should get out and do something for myself. Joined a college TA course which I really enjoy. Just been placement for 2 mornings and that's it really.

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ballsdeep Wed 18-Dec-19 21:19:27

The run up to Christmas isn't really the best time to see what school is like on a normal day.

hhsa Wed 18-Dec-19 21:30:22

Well hopefully gets better when I go back after the holidays.

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fedup21 Wed 18-Dec-19 22:15:59

Well hopefully gets better when I go back after the holidays.

When you say ‘gets better’, what are you hoping the role will look like?

BackforGood Wed 18-Dec-19 22:38:20

Am a bit surprised you have started the course without finding out a lot more about it first - have you not been expected to volunteer in school first, or have some experience running a cub or Brownie Pack or something before starting the course ?

As you can see from those who have taken time to answer you, you've (quite rightly) been given a very gentle introduction. I get that, doing anything new means you are concentrating a lot more and that can be tiring, but really, you have been given a very easy start there - I'm not sure what you think is going to 'get better' ?

disappear Fri 27-Dec-19 17:07:35

At the school where I teach, HLTAs cover whole classes, but TAs work with small groups, supporting learning in or out of the classroom, take small groups who need extra help and listen to children reading. They put up classroom displays and generally help to keep the classroom tidy.

eitak22 Fri 27-Dec-19 17:16:28

I'm a Ta in yr5. I tend to work in groups for core subjects (English,maths and science) and rest of the time I work with small groups or 1:1 running interventions so support for maths, reading, spelling etc. No two days are the same and of course I help on school trips.

Qcumber Fri 27-Dec-19 17:23:56

Hi OP. I'm a TA in year 3 at the moment, but you aren't always kept in your year. I take out individuals and groups (up to about 10) to teach maths and phonics. When in class it's usually working with groups and managing class behaviour. In my school there is a high proportion of pupils with SEN and behavioural issues, so I get punched, kicked, bitten, hair pulled almost daily. Kids can be a real handful and 30 at once can be very difficult. Depending on the level of your course, you may be expected to cover classes if a teacher is ill, often last minute with no preparation which can be very stressful. Days generally are tiring so if you were looking for something nice to do as a kind of 'hobby job' then it is probably not for you! Saying that it's incredibly rewarding and I find it enjoyable for the most part. Good luck with the course and I hope you find it more enjoyable after Xmas.

bananaskinsnomnom Sun 29-Dec-19 17:39:32

TA here in an independent school. Just started a month before Xmas break after being in early years in nursery climbing the ranks and was a state school TA for 2 years prior. Multiple placements and work experience weeks in schools.

Being a volunteer or student and being an employee are very different. I actually find being an employee much easier than it was being a student. Probably because I now realistically know what I’m doing and not used as a run around half the time.

So in that regard, as you gain experience and go forward, it does get easier - because your confidence will grow and you’ll have a stronger grasp on what to do.

My daily jobs are (reception)
15 minutes with a group of 4 children who need support (I plan this) in writing and phonics
Small group work (maths, literacy, phonics - task and aims set by teacher)
Carry out and write up observations
Work with children on topic activities (art, technology etc) - Can choose how many I work with at a time but will have a limit in which to get them all done, so I’ll often call over more able children, get them started, then grab the next few at the same time)
1:1 reading and phonics work
Displays are mostly my job under teach guidance
Prep snacks and milk
Wash up equipment / get resources / lots of trimming, laminating and photocopying
Ferry the children around the building eg to lunch, to PE etc
Keep track of children’s belongings
Play time duty
First aid room duty

It’s full on, but a big part of being a TA is, unlike the teacher, you leave it all at school and can generally walk out on your finishing time. Now a good TA in my view won’t leave stuff undone or in a shambles for the teacher to sort alone, but nevertheless you have your time at home and don’t being work back with you (reflected in the pay though)

The bonds you make with the children as a TA can also be so strong, often because you’ll spend a lot more time with them individually. I absolutely love it.

Christmas is a strange time for an introduction, indeed a couple of week in the timetable went out the window and it was Christmas crafts and Christmas play that ate all the time. But if you’re there full time, you learn to enjoy the end product (and the stress that goes with Christmas)

Personally, I love it!

TreeSwayer Tue 31-Dec-19 12:16:19

It does depend on the school, the new contracts for TAs in the one I volunteer in only have 30 minutes for lunch, the TAs who have been there longer get 1 hour which is the same as the children. So the extra 30 minutes are spent 1 to 1 with children who may need help feeding or socialising (possible behavioural issues)

Even as a volunteer I mark work as I go round the classroom, do intervention work with anything from 2 to 6 children at a time. I listen to children read but also have to fill in progress forms about their reading. I am usually just in the classroom helping children focus or explain things to them. But I have been volunteering for many years so I know the staff and the school well and I have been specifically requested by teachers to be in their classes as I can hit the ground running.

Some more experienced TAs are cover supervisors so take the class for History, Science or Art which is when the class teacher has PPA. It is a lot of extra work for not a lot of extra pay.

As a volunteer I do get some say over which year groups I will go into, but as a TA you might spend some time in one year group then move to another year group on a different day.

I love it. The staff are great and the children are fabulous.

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