Teaching Tantrums without a TA

So my TA starts work at 8am. I saw the other class TA at the photocopier and thought how Claire will be in soon. At 8.10am I was thinking that she was late. But I carried on sticking in my WALTS for maths. Looking at the other WALTS i needed to stick in for literacy and Geography, I thought ‘Oh Claire can stick these in when I’m doing my input.’

Then my phone beeped. It was Claire. She had been throwing up all morning. She wasn’t coming in. ‘It’ll be fine’ I thought. It’s not like she’s a real hands on TA. She doesn’t always stick sheets in books, she doesn’t mark the books group that she works with and she isn’t very pro active- she always seems busy doing ‘other things’ and that’s probley because she’s old enough to be my mum and i still don’t feel confident telling an older adult to stick in banana worksheets.

Anyway. Let’s cut a long story short. Today was the most stressful day of my life. It was awful. At 3.15pm I actually googled (on my phone) alternative career prospects with a teaching qualification. I even job hunted  –  there’s an education job going at the BBC in the CBeebies department, if anyone’s interested. I just thought, I cannot do this for another year. 

The problem is that in a 21st century classroom, teachers need a Teaching Assistant. Yes, there have been research that shows that children’s learning has actually decreased since the introduction of TAs. But really, has children’s learning lowered? Or have the statistics changed? Before TAs there were classrooms of 17, there were no EAL students and SEN children went to specialised schools. Maybe, it’s no body’s fault that learning is lowering, it’s just the expectations are higher than they’ve ever been.

I realised today that TAs are not just for doing displays and sticking in. They are an extra pair of much needed hands. I realised today that Claire is always busy. When she is busy with other things- she is busy with other things. Listening to children read (couldn’t get done today), collecting trip money and updating the collection sheet (couldn’t get done today), taking a phonics group (couldn’t get done today) and settling the children down as soon as I need them to be quiet (didn’t get done today).

It was like the children could sense my weakness today. They were louder, more fussier, no one got any decent input in maths because I was constantly flitting between one group or another. At least with another person, they can explain things to smaller groups on the carpet and float too.

All in all, I now have a deeper and absolutely, totally appreciative view towards Susan and I cannot wait until she is back. I hope she gets well very soon!

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