This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Genuine question - what do teachers REALLY think of TAs?(24 Posts)
That's it really. In your setting do teachers genuinely value their TAs? Are they there to support learning or do the photocopying?
Secondary - TAs are too few and far between. I’ve had classes where if the TA didn’t turn up I knew the lesson would be a total write off as I need their support in keeping students focused.
We barely have any.
When we did it’s too much of a general question to respond to. Like any job, some are brilliant, some are hopeless and most are somewhere in between.
I genuinely valued all of them (other than the occasional one that was useless!)
I played to their strengths. Some of then she great at supporting learning, some were great at displays, some were great at admin stuff. The TA I loved the most and would choose above all others, was one who had difficulties supporting learning, as she had literacy difficulties, but she had a great memory for things concerning me or the children/ their parents (in a bit absent minded) and always had my back. She was really observant and I know that if I was having to focus on an individual child, she'd be totally aware of what was happening in the room.
And she absolutely wasn't above doing the photocopying!
I'm in primary, in an infants school. My TAs are worth their weight in gold. Honestly, I don't know what I'd do without them. I'm lucky enough to work in a school where we still have a general TA every morning/afternoon as well as any 1:1s, and HLTAs to cover PPA time. They are a hugely important part of our team.
Thanks all and apologies for being so general.
We hear that we are valued constantly in our school but one or two teachers talk to the TAs like dirt. Am considering either a move (or change of career) but guess you get superior people everywhere.
Btw, am not above the photocopying either. 😉
I really appreciate any support I get from TAs. I try to help guide them as much as I am able with respect to the kind of support I think the children need.
I have seen and heard of some outrageously disrespectful treatment of TAs by some teachers though which is not on.
Lovely people. Would never speak to like dirt. Valued as friends.
Do they add anything to my lessons? No, and sometimes they can be a hindrance, is my honest answer.
she had literacy difficulties
Why schools take people with literacy difficulties to do a teaching assistant job is beyond me. I’ve worked with some fabulous TAs but it’s embarrassing for all concerned when this happens.
It depends on the TA. Most are amazing, adaptable and essential to provide support for key children. Then there are the ones that aren’t. But everyone should be treated with courtesy.
Some are amazing, some are dreadful-probably like most other jobs.
I teach in secondary, so mostly they are only there if attached to a specific kid, but they can be amazing in helping that child and also as general support if it's a challenging class. Just occasionally you get a useless pudding who thinks it's their chance to put right the lack of learning in their own school career and is not at all proactive, and that kind I would rather do without, but good TAs are amazing and much valued.
Most of the TA’s I have had have been absolutely amazing and make such a huge difference to my classes. I appreciated every single one of them. And then you get the lazy ones who don’t bother turning up for classes or do their own thing. Or even have a gossip and a chat with another TA in the room and do nothing even when they have set jobs. I don’t have much time for them. But the ones who are great are told how much I appreciate them.
Secondary. I have asked TAs to run errands on occasion, but only in an emergency. I have had a few who have been a nuisance or no help (talking when I or a pupil is talking; doing the kids' work for them instead of with them; winding up kids, sitting like a pudding), but most have been/are very helpful.
This year, I have some challenging students, but also have fab TAs who note which kids are struggling, keep pupils on task and then discuss strategies with me after the lesson. One puddingy TA which is annoying, but worth putting up with because when I have one of the others, I can focus on different kids every lesson and the class is calmer.
I always thank them after lessons and pass on praise to their line manager when they do more than they need. to.
I really value their support and ideas but admit I do get jealous when they leave at 1 min past 3 and the classroom is left in carnage 😂. As others have said some are amazing others not so much just like any other job! I was a TA for 5 years before becoming a teacher x
Primary and I love my TA. She goes above and beyond. She’s a friend, PA, my diary reminder system and extra teacher all rolled into one! She also photocopies (but I do too!). I’m saddened by TA cuts and know they will eventually cut her if money troubles continue. I’m in Year 1 so I’ve managed to keep hold of a TA but the older classes haven’t.
Some are amazing, some are dreadful-probably like most other jobs.
I agree with this. The same applies to teachers.
A good TA is worth their weight in gold. They're a mastermind at their specialism, often have useful tips and tricks for specific children, they adapt to fit the lessons, they are firm and fair with classroom rules and I expect students to consider them very much an equal in that respect. They are a whiz with access arrangements and support. Sometimes 1-1 TAs can be a little bit superglued to their child or helicopter TAs, but usually with a request to back off a little so their child can develop independence is all that's needed. There's a fabulous working relationship where suggestions go both ways and we keep relevant people up to date on how the child is getting on. I couldn't do my job as well without them.
A bad TA can actively hinder teaching. They end up being more like mates with the students, end up talking about non-work conversations that are disruptive, they continue to talk to students after I've got attention to the front and I'm sanctioning pupils but can't sanction the child talking to the TA about what their had for lunch without undermining the TA. They will tend to muddle around the lesson, or give the children the answers Vs promoting independence. They can create a culture in some classes where the class are getting on fine, but when TA comes in suddenly 6 students all become helplessly stuck and need to call across the room etc.
There's good and bad in every position though. I can think of some teachers who do many of the things in my second example too.
The first TA I worked with was absolutely amazing. She was fantastic with EAL children, had loads of ideas and was endlessly kind and calm no matter what. But I’ve also worked with a TA who needed me to teach her KS2 maths before each lesson, she would wander off during lessons and had obvious favourite children. Just like any other role, I think it depends on the individuals involved.
I’ve had three TAs at my current school. My first one (in my NQT year) was awful. She was two faced and slagged everyone off. Wasn’t keen on her approach with the children either.
My second one was much better and I knew I didn’t need to spoon feed her anything.
My third one I’ve had for three years now. I absolutely adore her. She’s my saviour most days and I couldn’t be without her. She knows exactly what the children need and I know I can count on her to support me and the children to the best of her ability. I can ask her something and she will give me an honest answer which I also appreciate.
Our SLT can be less than appreciative of our support staff though and that really drags them down. I try to show them all how much I appreciate them even when others don’t.
I’d just like to add that as a parent I value immensely the TAs in my sons’ classes. From helping out and providing that bit more 1:1 for the youngest (we have two TAs in reception/year one) to letting my eldest continue learning when he gets frustrated.
For instance, my ds1 can get quite worked up sometimes. We work on strategies at home of him removing himself from situations. Bless him he did this in class when he was getting continuously bothered (with the best intentions) from his classmates. The lovely lovely TA sat with him in the quiet space so he could carry on working. Our school really encourage TAs and we do have a disproportionate number compared to others, but I definitely think it’s helpful.
Couldn’t agree more. When DD’s teacher went on maternity leave last year, I felt that my daughter was overlooked by the new teacher. I watched her actually look through DD and see to every other child before mine when we were in after an assembly. When DD turned back to me, she was on the verge of tears and the teacher still hadn’t seen her. The TA was doing something else but still managed to spot my DD and sort it out.
A decent TA is a godsend. My most recent one became a friend and I am in touch with her while on maternity leave.
Please login first.