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Becoming a TA
15

Theknitwitch · 19/10/2017 17:29

Been a classroom volunteer for a while and the teacher has asked if I’ve ever considered becoming a TA.
Never considered it and think I might be too old now (48).
Does anyone have any advice please.
Am I too old?

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didyoureally · 19/10/2017 17:33

Not too old at all! I think a lot of TAs start off as volunteers in their children's primary school and then do the TA qualification - so lots starting off in their 30s and 40s.

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mangomama91 · 19/10/2017 17:34

Guessing by the fact the teacher has asked you then she must think you are good at what you do. 🙂
Definitely not too old!

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happiestcamper · 20/10/2017 17:31

I became a TA in my 30's. I don't think I could have done it any younger I am older, wiser and more patient in my 30's

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castasp · 21/10/2017 08:03

All the TAs in my current school (secondary) are in their late 40s/50s I would say, so not too old. Many come into it after years of being a SAHM, then want a job that fits around school, so it's actually quite rare to work with a young TA - this is my experience in secondary anyway.

Some TAs were once teachers who hated the excessive hours, and couldn't fit the hours in with looking after their own children, which again means they're older.

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MagicFajita · 21/10/2017 08:04

You're not too old , go for it.

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exLtEveDallas · 21/10/2017 08:10

Anecdote doesn’t equal data but I have found that the older TAs in our schools are often the ones who are better at relating to and calming those children with Special Needs when the need arises.

There is something soothing about them. I am in awe at how unruffled our eldest TA is when faced with some poor lad in utter meltdown, and how she seems to bring him back down, simply by being there and talking to him.

Age shouldn’t be a barrier, why not try it and see.

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Appuskidu · 21/10/2017 08:12

Why would you be too old? It's not like there's a ten year training course to do first?! Go for it-they clearly think you are good in the classroom.

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Frazzled2207 · 21/10/2017 08:16

Sorry to hijack but are there any TAs around that can highlight what the negatives are, other than terrible money.

I’m 39 myself and considering it due to recent voluntary redundancy-really want to something that fits better with kids and money not an enormous concern.

About to start volunteering with the school as soon as DBS back.

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MagicFajita · 21/10/2017 08:50

Negatives

-The expectation to be a jack of all trades at times.

  • The unpredictability. You will often be the last to know when something big is happening like a trip or having to cover for others (not really poor organisation , just the way a school environment can be).
  • Often being put with the low ability children to support them , not an issue in itself but the LA kids often struggle with behaviour too.
    -picking up after supply teachers. Now most are bloody excellent and are a joy to work with and support but some do not listen/care enough. In these cases you can end up doing the lion's share of the work which makes for a frustrating day.
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SuburbanRhonda · 21/10/2017 09:08

Not a negative, but these days it’s unheard of to be a general class TA, taking in the reading record books at the start of the day, mixing paints for art and so on. You will be expected to provide learning support in the classroom to groups of children and in time you may be asked to run specific intervention groups out of the classroom. I ran a weekly maths group for more able children but in general you will rarely work with more able children.

On the plus side, you may be able to train as an HLTA (great if you like whole-class teaching), or as an ELSA or, in my case, as a home school link worker, working with parents and families.

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Dragonglass · 21/10/2017 14:16

Another thing to think about, along with the low pay, is the availability of jobs. In my area there are not that many jobs and an awful lot of people applying for the few jobs there are.
Due to funding cuts, many schools are reducing the amount of TAs that they have.

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That1950sMum · 21/10/2017 14:20

You are definitely not too old!

Being a TA is a fantastic job, but they pay is terrible and it can be stressful. As others have said you often get placed with the most challenging children - sometime by yourself if they need to be removed from the classroom. The job also varies massively according to the teacher you are with.

It is incredibly rewarding though and you really can make a difference to children's lives.

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SuburbanRhonda · 21/10/2017 15:07

A new TA would be unlikely to be the one left with a child having a meltdown.

They would be more likely to be asked to take the children to another classroom or safe place while staff experienced in behaviour management and restraint techniques stay with the child.

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That1950sMum · 21/10/2017 16:32

Rhonda I wasn't referring to full on meltdown, I was talking about the times when the rest of the class are concentrating and one or two children are causing a significant distraction so that they need to be taken elsewhere to complete their work.

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SuburbanRhonda · 21/10/2017 17:07

Oh ok.

We don’t take children out if they’re just being disruptive as we don’t have enough staff for 1:1 or 1:2 unless the child has an EHCP or other funded hours for that.

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