Maximising your Impact
How to Be a Great Teaching Assistant
Teaching assistants can deliver huge benefits to schools, inside and outside the classroom – whether it’s boosting learning outcomes and cutting admin, supervising pupils, or providing vital teaching backup and classroom management support during lessons.
In this post, we look at the value TAs have to offer, and what teaching assistants can do to maximise this impact and effectiveness.
The value of a good TA
Ask any teacher, and they will tell you that a good teaching assistant is invaluable – reducing teacher stress and workload, whilst cutting classroom disruption. When effective, TAs can deliver benefits all over the school:
- Supporting group learning during lessons
- Providing one to one pupil support (inside and outside of class)
- Supervising children in classes, at lunch, during breaks and on school trips/events
- Providing additional support to children with SEN
- Handling admin, lesson planning and marking
As in any role, how TAs work is as important as what they do – here are a few tips to ensure that you’re adding real value.
Maximising your impact as a TA – Inside the Classroom
Communication is key
As a teaching assistant, you’re there to help the teacher – but different teachers might want you to help out in a number of different ways.
Some may want you to focus on certain pupils, others might want your input with the teaching, whereas some may value admin support. It could be a mixture of all of these.
Constant communication with the teacher, finding out what your responsibilities will be in each class, and how each teacher wants you to support them will ensure you’re adding real value to the lessons.
Know your curriculum
To be at your most effective as a teaching assistant, it’s essential that you know the curriculum. Take time to read all the lesson plans, teaching notes, relevant texts and the syllabus – so you know how pupils are learning, as well as what they are learning.
Poor preparation or knowledge can undermine your authority in the classroom. This could make you more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to classroom support.
Supporting the management of the classroom, and providing the teacher with backup in keeping control of the pupils is an essential part of the role.
Whether it’s answering questions and giving feedback, breaking up conversations, making desk moves and group work go smoothly or handing out materials – a great teaching assistant will help to ensure that the lesson runs smoothly and efficiently.
As a TA, one of the challenges is building up the right relationship with pupils – and building up the right rapport and boundaries is really important. You may face perceptions that because you’re a TA, you have less power than a teacher.
In some cases, this perception can actually be beneficial, especially when dealing with pupils that don’t like to engage with teachers. The lack of perceived power makes you less of an authority figure and a threat, which can make you a friendlier face.
However, it can also impact on the respect you’re given by pupils. If you feel like you need to build authority, getting the support of the teacher will be essential. Working together, and ensuring that teachers treat you with respect, and don’t undermine your authority will help.
Maximising your impact as a TA – Outside the Classroom
Supporting progress monitoring
Some teachers may want your support in monitoring student progress – whether that’s marking homework or grading classroom projects. This can be invaluable, freeing up time and helping to reduce heavy workloads.
Again, to do this effectively, it’s important to know the curriculum, so take time to familiarise yourself with all the relevant information, tests and syllabuses.
Admin and prep support
Helping out with admin, lesson planning and scheduling can make a real difference. However, when doing any lesson planning, it’s essential that you understand the individual teaching style and lesson requirements properly.
This comes down to communication, so take time to discuss things with the teacher, what they would like you to do, and how they would like you to do it.
Find your perfect teaching assistant role with Future Education
At Future Education, we’re here to help you find the right teaching assistant role in around London. Whether you’re looking to start your career, want to relocate or fancy a new challenge, we have supply, part time and full time opportunities in primary, secondary and SEN schools across the capital and beyond
From providing advice on training, development and CVs, to matching you with the right opportunities, we’re here to help.
For further information, call our team today on 020 8256 0910 or email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, check out our latest available roles at http://www.futureeducation.co.uk/jobs.