A classroom can be a busy place. A teacher is tasked with the challenge of educating many – sometimes well over 30 – energetic pupils. Most definitely a challenge. That’s why Teaching Assistants (TA) are so important.
As the name suggests, they assist the teachers. They help to ensure that the children get the maximum benefit possible from their lesson times. Whether that’s helping set tasks, giving feedback or carrying out administrative tasks, the work they do is important. But only if they are doing it effectively.
What does it take to be an effective TA?
Positivity is key. The classroom can be a stressful place for teachers, so having positive energy around them is helpful. Providing emotional support is a very important part of the role and doing so with a smile on your face will be highly beneficial to the teacher you are working with.
Just as Teachers do, TAs must be prepared for their day. Knowing the lesson plans and what you are going to be covering and ensuring you are prepared for it will increase your effectiveness. Think about what you are going to say, the messages you are going to deliver to the pupils and ensure you are on top of the topics. Attempting to fly through it off the cuff will make you less effective. Stay in close contact with your teacher so that you can research properly.
Set yourself up as a positive influence on the pupils you are working with. Be calm, positive and helpful to them. It is vital that you allow them to see you as an approachable person, someone they can talk to about anything they need. Finding the right balance here is crucial. Be assertive enough that they respect you, but personable enough that they feel comfortable talking to you.
Set a positive example through your actions, behaviour and words.
You need to be adaptable. There are many different situations in which you may need to adapt quickly. From a late change in the lesson place to the need to adapt your tone of voice depending on which pupil you are speaking to.
When something changes mid-lesson, you will need to show flexibility in assisting your teacher to manage the change. You will move quickly from very different situations, mixing between addressing individuals and groups, so need to be ready to change your approach at any point in time.
The clue is in the name, TAs are there to assist. Be helpful and provide support for your teacher. Perform the tedious tasks so that your teacher has more time to focus on the lesson. Photocopying, handing stuff out, collecting books, preparing stationary. Various little things that will make the teachers life a lot easier.
Engaging with the pupils is so important. You are on the front line, in regular contact with them. You need to learn and understand their personalities, what makes them tick and be able to notice when they are down or struggling. The more engaged you are, the quicker you will be able to notice issues and the better the feedback you will be able to provide.
Think you’d be an effective Teaching Assistant? Contact us today to discuss the opportunities we have available.