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Secondary teacher getting TA job in primary

(109 Posts)
nottonightjoesphine Wed 30-Apr-14 20:07:38

Whaddaya reckon to my chances folks? I'm a teacher of sociology in a secondary school. There's a long story really but the shorty one is that I hate it. Hate the demands on my family time, the sleepless nights, the scrutiny, the relentless sense of fear.
I've seen a job for a full time TA in a local primary school. Financially we can take the hit but do you think they would even bother giving me an interview? Never worked with small kids before, never even did any teaching practice in a primary school.

I need some good news people. Would they touch me? Are there any heads on here who could give me some insight?smile

toomuchicecream Wed 30-Apr-14 20:24:30

Do you have your own children you've done stuff with/their friends? How do you currently work to support less able pupils? Do you have any interests you could use for the benefit of the school - gardening club, recorders etc.

What can you offer the school? Can you make your reason to apply a positive one eg you like working with small groups of pupils and seeing the progress they make so that's why you're drawn to the TA role?

There is no reason why a primary school wouldn't look at you - unless your application sounds as if you hate teenagers and are after an easy life! But as with every job you have to make your application stand out.

When we advertised for a TA a number of applicants came to look round before applying. I'd definitely recommend you do that so you can get a bit more info about what the job will involve. Then your application can make you sound irresistible!!

nottonightjoesphine Wed 30-Apr-14 22:55:17

Aww thanks for the response. I would definitely like the chance to have a look around - good idea.
I don't hate teenagers, most of them make me laugh a whole bunch. Recently though, i have lost all confidence in my ability to relate to them. I have faced such verbal abuse where I currently work and it's gone unchecked by management to the extent that kids have picked up on it. I guess if I am honest there is a part of me that wonders if I can relate better to smaller children. My self esteem is pretty much on the floor with regards to teaching and I just need to be in a more positive environment.

You've asked me some pretty good questions there. To be honest, I'm crap at being creative and when my DC's friends come over, we do cinema/walks/park, because I find it difficult to invent games to play.
Do TA's need to be really creative?
Now that you've asked me, I don't actually know what I would be 'good at' I relation to small kids confused
I manage SEN in my classroom right now in a variety of ways, using ILP's appropiately , having a TA in my classroom, differentiating resources, one to one etc.

nottonightjoesphine Wed 30-Apr-14 23:25:10

Plus I don't have any other interests.

Well, I speak Spanish fairly well. Would that count?

phlebasconsidered Thu 01-May-14 14:47:49

Creativity is key in primary, it's so different to secondary in that respect. I have worked in both sectors. As a TA you'd be responsible for displays, which are key in primary, especially since the advent of the "working wall". I would google and pinterest some primary classroom displays and get a feel for their standard.

My TA does mainly intervention work, which she is brilliant at, and does my more arty displays. However, most TA's in primary in this cash strapped age are linked to specific children with specific needs. I lost my TA, for example, when my high-need child that was "her" child was removed to another school.

Don't imagine that self esteem will come back just because they are smaller children. If anything, they are like dogs and can sense weakness, and are far less bothered about feelings, being 7 years old.

I am more pressured in primary than I was in secondary.

I'd take a look round some schools first. Primaries are very different environments.

nottonightjoesphine Thu 01-May-14 15:26:37

Can it be any worse than being called a 'cunt' today?grin
I hear you on the creativity- I need to think hard about that. I'm probably not as bad as I'm imagining myself to be. I do want an easier time of it than I do now, and I don't think there's anything wrong in admitting that- after all, the reduction in responsibility for a TA is reflected in the pay. I do know it's hard work and that's not something I'm afraid of. My own TA's are invaluable to me and I would like to think I could become invaluable to a teacher.

midnightmoomoo Thu 01-May-14 20:39:06

I've sent you a PM x

midnightmoomoo Thu 01-May-14 20:40:15

Oh, and I can sympathise....I spent one delightful year in a school being called 'R.E. Bitch'!!!!!

CharlesRyder Fri 02-May-14 18:44:35

Well, I had a chair thrown at me and was called a fat fucking slag by a 9yo yesterday. TBF I teach children statemented for EBD and I had had the temerity to turn his computer off but this was in mainstream. Don't be thinking it's all cutting and glueing and happy times in Primary.

MummaSmurf1 Fri 02-May-14 18:50:37

Don't let the creativity block you. It is a common strength with TAs but there are ways around it in terms of display. Alternative strengths would be high levels of organisation, taking initiative and generally making enough impact on learning.
However, behaviour unless in lovely school can be surprisingly difficult. I've been called the c word, told to suck certain parts, threatened with scissors, hit, kicked, punched. Had a whole computer thrown at me once.
The thing that'd put me off TAing is the endless first aid and cleaning of bodily fluids!!

Thetimes123 Fri 02-May-14 20:29:09

My teacher friend at my school moved from teacher to TA in same school, and now loves her life, so may be an option?

nottonightjoesphine Sat 03-May-14 11:04:38

Thanks all. I am crap at creativity (is isn't especially a requirements in my field and not generally across secondary I don't think, apart for the arts etc) . I am however a natural leader and good at taking the initiative if I know what I'm doing, so perhaps I could draw on that as you say. I don't know how to play an instrument but can sing (ha!) and although I passed my exams in maths etc, I am definitely very rusty it that point if struggling to help my child with some aspects of her homework. The more I write, the worse I'm sounding aren't i?

CharlesRyder Sun 04-May-14 06:37:29

IME in Primary it is now ALL about teaching and learning. We don't even have many displays in classrooms now- it is all working walls that get changed daily and just have what you are currently doing up- bits you've written by hand during the lesson etc.

TAs spend most of their time delivering intervention or differentiating classroom tasks.

So, TBH, I think in Gove's Primary, being a trained teacher would be FAR more valuable in a TA than any creative talent.

phlebasconsidered Sun 04-May-14 09:45:14

We have to have working walls for english, maths and topic plus snazzy displays and all singing all dancing themed book corners. My school is slicing it's ta numbers drastically. Unless the child has a statement, it's unlikely the class will have a ta at all. In that respect I think genning up on SEN would be useful, particularly autistic spectrum stuff, as most primaries have had an explosion of spectrum disorder diagnosis in recent years.

nottonightjoesphine Sun 04-May-14 10:05:50

Oh thanks yes, the job spec did mention knowledge of EBD and ASD would be desirable ( as well as other learning difficulties that can present a barrier to learning etc). I don't have enough experience of ASD to be able to answer a question about how I would specifically support a child zip don't think. I did have one child a few years ago who chose my subject as an option, and my school ( disgracefully) didn't provide specific methods for me to use that he would respond to. I learned from just being with him that he needed very direct instructions, extra time and always let him finish something he started. It was crap for him really as he asked to move to ICT option after a few months as he couldn't cope but I imagine he would have stayed with me had he been supported properly.

Have you guys any tips on how to support a child with ASD in primary? Should I ask on the SEN board for a parents perspective, or is that crass?

Goblinchild Sun 04-May-14 10:12:18

One of the best ways to support a child with ASD in primary is to talk to the parents and listen to them properly. Tony Attwood is a well-respected source of info too.
There is an oft-repeated saying 'If you've met one child on the spectrum, you've met one child on the spectrum. Not understanding that is often how children fall through the gaps in primary.

Goblinchild Sun 04-May-14 10:13:00

Oh, and I'm a teacher, and the parent of two on the spectrum. grin

nottonightjoesphine Sun 04-May-14 10:16:06

Thank you, so meeting needs on an individual basis is key.

ImAThrillseekerBunny Sun 04-May-14 10:22:44

I quite agree Goblin. Working with a child with ASD is about learning how that specific child works. Most of the standard techniques (visual timetables, social stories, avoiding metaphorical language, clumsy attempts to relate curriculum to "obsessional interests" etc etc) bounced right off DS until he found a TA who was genuinely on his wavelength and related to him as an individual.

Which is not to say that it wouldn't be useful to read up on the standard techniques to have them up your sleeves as possible approaches.

And do brush up your maths - it shouldn't take long to revise chunking/bus stop etc. At least your SPAG is apparently good, so that gives you a head start over a depressingly high number of TAs.

thornrose Sun 04-May-14 10:40:58

I'm a TA and I agree it's not about displays anymore and all about targets and moving on children's learning. At my school TAs are being cut back and the remaining ones have to really earn their pittance, you have to love it! Luckily I do grin

We are constantly being observed and assessed, our Head is particularly keen on a surprise drop in and feedback can be brutal, I've heard.

It makes me smile wearily when people assume we just sit around cutting and sticking and putting on plasters (we have a First Aider for that).

We have an ex High school teacher working as a TA currently, management absolutely love her! [wry smile]

You will generally be there to support a specific statemented child. That could be for ASD or ADHD or developmental delays (they are the most common). You will work very closely with the SENCO to set targets and keep the IEPs up to date.

There are big changes afoot within SEN so maybe google the changes and show a bit of knowledge about this.

Under the new rules, SEN statements and learning difficulty assessments (LDAs) will be replaced with education, health and care (EHC) plans taking children and young people up to the age of 25. From September, new assessments of SEN will follow the new rules, and support will be provided through an EHC plan.

*School Action and School Action Plus to end
School Action and School Action Plus – intervention schemes that tracked progress – have been removed in the draft code. Instead, there'll be a single school-based category for children who need extra specialist support. You should set out interventions and expected outcomes for these pupils, and review progress each term. You must also inform parents when pupils without an EHC plan receive special support.*

I have a dd with AS so I see things from all sides which helps me (and sometimes hinders me)

thornrose Sun 04-May-14 10:47:20

Oh, one last thing, stay away from MN threads about TAs terrible SPAG, it can get nasty! wink

TheBuskersDog Sun 04-May-14 20:28:09

You will generally be there to support a specific statemented child.

This really does depend on the school, in the school I work in every class has a general TA in the mornings and usually a couple of afternoons a week as well.

phlebasconsidered Sun 04-May-14 20:53:04

You're right , it does vary. I've worked in schools where 3 adults in a class was the norm. At the moment, I haven't had a TA since Xmas. It's crap. It looks likely to worsen as Gove makes it clear he thinks they are not worth it, and many academies budget them out (as in my case).

nottonightjoesphine Tue 06-May-14 10:24:05

Thanks everyone. They told me on the phone that the appointed TA would be expected to 'float' between different classes across both key stages. It's only a small school and rated outstanding, excellent local reputation etc. Feel a bit nervous at idea of being asked to support year 6 maths when I'm so rusty (and crap at it, ha) but it's worth a shot maybe. I've really appreciated the advice on here, esp with regards to SEN. I will be fighting off loads of competition regarding no of applicants, but hopefully my experience in a secondary will go towards something.
I know I could do supply work in September but I hate the idea of waiting by the phone, dressed at 7am to be sent all over the region and arranging childcare last minute. I also don't know if I could take any more abuse from kids in my current frame of mind and as a supply teacher, pretty sure I'd be eaten alive.

nottonightjoesphine Fri 09-May-14 20:23:30

Hey update. I got an interview for the job I applied for! (Lots of applicants it seems).

Any TA's have any tips for interview? Apparantly it's made up of two parts, a phonics task, then an interview, then a maths task. I'm not sure what this means? Would I be leading this? (Surely not....sounds like the teachers job to me?!)

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