I hate to say it, but my TA adds nothing to my lessons

Nov 1, 2015 by

When properly trained and briefed, teaching assistants offer invaluable support to pupils. But mine is more trouble than my students

It’s Tuesday afternoon with my bottom set year 9s, and one voice continuously talks over me as I try to teach. I focus my gaze on the perpetrator, Andrea, but I do not administer the customary telling-off. Why? Because she’s a teaching assistant (TA).

Related: Haberman Foundation

When I ask for silence, she engages a group of children in discussion. As I write notes on the board, she (wrongly) questions some of the facts and asks whether my spelling is definitely right. Then she suggests an alternative method to a calculation, which the children love because it looks easier, but is conceptually inaccurate. I am beginning to feel like the bad guy in my own classroom.

This has been going on for a long time, and it’s ruining my lessons. I’ve tried to have an honest conversation with her, but she always thinks she knows best. And it’s hard for me; I am not her manager and she is not accountable to me.

I know it isn’t always this way. I’ve worked with plenty of TAs who are experts in their area of special educational needs (SEN), conscientious about communication and excellent at taking the initiative. I’ve seen a primary TA take an entire class full-time while the teacher was on maternity leave; I’ve seen TAs routinely left to teach classes with absolutely no cover work; and I’ve had some of the best teaching feedback of my career from the eagle-eyed among them.

Source: Secret Teacher: I hate to say it, but my TA adds nothing to my lessons | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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