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Experienced Teaching Assistants - please help! I work with a Year One teacher who cannot spell. How do I deal with it?

46 replies

GossipMonger · 24/01/2009 16:18

I am a good speller.

Year One teacher is not. She is young - 25 ish and I am older - 38.

I have just started working with a child who is challenging but I work with the whole class as well. There is another TA who never mentions the fact that the teacher cannot spell but I just feel uncomfortable about the whole thing.

Words she has written wrong lately are


lison (listen! )

She wrote a list of words for learning which were might, light, fight, hight, sight!!

Mikey Mouse
Buzz Lightyeer

It just goes on and on and I dont know what to do. What would you do?

OP posts:
Littlefish · 24/01/2009 18:38

I also agree with Twinset - the TA is there to support the teaching and learning in the class. My TA used to point out errors e.g. if I had missed out a word while writing on the board etc. I never had a problem with it. We just used it as a learning opportunity with the children.

Rachmumoftwo · 24/01/2009 18:38

I am a teacher and am shocked that a year 1 teacher got this far with such poor spelling. Yes, every so often we all get something wrong and I have been known to get a mental block with a word (all classrooms have dictionaries), but this is just silly. I would raise your concerns with the head before a parent does.

stuffitllama · 24/01/2009 18:39

This sounds different to twinset's situation though.

cornsilk · 24/01/2009 18:41

Hi whizz!

newpup · 24/01/2009 18:44

I trained as a teacher and would not have got my qualification if I had spelling that bad . Teachers must have a c grade in G.C.S.E. English to even get on their teacher training course so goodness knows how this girl managed. You must point it out to a senior member of staff. A parent will soon be on the case anyway, far more embarassing for her then!

lulurose · 24/01/2009 18:46

Definately talk to the teacher herself if you have a good working relationship. Just point the mistake out and ask her if she minds you pointing any errors out if you spot them again.

This is what I would appreciate, and I am Reception teacher. I was brain storming words that begin with "y" with my class infront of Ofsted once, very stressful and I spely egg yolk as "yoke", my Brilliant TA who has since gone on to become a teacher interjected and made and we made a teaching point out of it.

lulurose · 24/01/2009 18:49

For what its worth I find it difficult to believe a trained teacher would make such errors. She must be monitored by SMT termly.

lulurose · 24/01/2009 18:50

excuse the typo!

zanzibarmum · 24/01/2009 18:50

Feenie - sorry didn't realise she was a TA. In that case she needs to tell the head of her concerns immediately.

cornsilk · 24/01/2009 18:50

Agree lulurose. Surely this would have been picked up on while she was training?

GossipMonger · 24/01/2009 19:25

so you think I am making this up Lulurose??

Thanks again everyone - will speak to someone on Monday

OP posts:
WedgiesMum · 24/01/2009 19:25

I always watch out for any teacher I work with and their spelling, but also mistakes in any other lesson.

If it is something on the board I quietly go and correct the spelling then tell the teacher. If it is something that she has said or is writing at the time that is confusing then I will interject. Often it is because they are thinking about something else and they have a momentary lapse of concentration. It is much easier to spot from a TA point of view as you are not the main focus of attention I find.

But I always tell them if I think they have slipped up, and in every case they are lovely and don't take offence. In this case I would have some serious concerns and would talk to the teacher about it, but I would also raise it informally with their immediate line manager (although it may not be the Head it might be the head of key stage of deputy head).

lulurose · 24/01/2009 19:31

Wedgies Mum you sound like a brilliant, supportive TA. This is absolutely the right approach IMO.

WedgiesMum · 24/01/2009 19:37

Why thank you lulurose!

lulurose · 24/01/2009 19:38

HI GM, just very surprised it hasn't been picked up before. I still think its best to try the supportive route and speak to her first rather than go behind her back. Its not that I wouldn't see it as a legitimate concern, just that she could be struggling with things at the moment and might appreciate some friendly support as outlined by WedgiesMum.

I guess I would always try and support and work with the teacher first as I realise what a tough job it can be at times and there may be other factors at play that are affecting her classroom performance.

If you are genuinely concerned that children's learning is suffering and you can't work as a team on it then I agree, an informal chat with the phase leader/KS coordinator might be appropriate.

GossipMonger · 24/01/2009 19:39

I really dont want to go behind her back! I would much rather be supportive towards her than be sneaking off to the HT!

Thanks all.

OP posts:
MollieO · 24/01/2009 19:42

Seems like a lot of basic words to be getting wrong. Is she incredibly nervous and not thinking or are these mistakes the norm? Is she newly qualified? I do wonder with the use of computers for school and degree work these days whether spelling has generally got worse. I'm of the age where we weren't allowed to use calculators in exams and didn't have computers to do our homework on either at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Makes me sound ancient but only in early 40s !

cornsilk · 24/01/2009 20:04

I can see how someone would get their course work through a degree with the aid of computers, but trainee teachers have their actual teaching and planning scrutinised quite closely - more difficult to get through that without anybody picking up on errors. Could she be dyslexic? If this is the case she will be glad of your help with this issue.

mrsmaidamess · 24/01/2009 20:09

I cover the nursery teachers planning time at my school..and the nursery nurse is always asking me how to spell things...this week it was 'knew', as in 'Joe knew how to ride a bike'.

She thought it was spelt 'new'.

She is 21.

It is the youth of today

cazzybabs · 25/01/2009 19:09

hang on...are you sure she is not doing it on purpose...trying to get the kids to use phonetic spelling

ladycornyofsilke · 25/01/2009 19:40

eeek - do some teachers actually do that cazzy? Extremely bad practice I would have thought!

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