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Top 10 Tips for Being an Effective Teaching Assistant

This inspiring blog article provides an array of tips for being an effective teaching assistant. Having worked in various schools myself as a teaching assistant I know that supporting teachers and students efficiently is hard work but also very rewarding. My experience has inspired me to write this article, as I realize that being a teaching assistant extends beyond the job description.

According to the Government, a teaching assistant’s job is to support children with their learning, collaborate with the teacher to facilitate effective learning experiences as well as prepare classroom activities and displays. However, I understand, from personal experience working in various educational settings, that supporting teachers effectively extends beyond these statutory requirements and requires diligence, innovation, and empathy towards staff and students.

1. Firstly teaching assistants need to be vigilant

Teaching assistants need to be vigilant continually observing how they can support the teacher and students in the most useful ways. Using one’s initiative rather than waiting to be given instructions is highly rated by teachers because they can focus on teaching the class knowing their teaching assistant will independently adhere to classroom tasks. ‘Actions speak louder than words’, therefore this trust and reliance develop over time.

TIP: Keep your eyes open for opportunities throughout the day to help different students and support the teacher in the best way possible.

2. Flexibility is another key attribute of an efficient teaching assistant

Adapting to meet the teacher’s unique needs each day will ensure lessons are carried out according to their plans and ensure pupils engage in productive learning experiences.

TIP: Be willing to change your plans depending on your teacher’s daily plan and make sure you adapt your activities to meet each child’s individual learning needs.

3. Good professional working relationships

It’s crucial to develop a good and professional working relationship between teachers and their teaching assistants when they collaborate effectively to achieve intended learning outcomes. This involves teaching assistants getting to know their teacher’s unique style of teaching, classroom management techniques, and personal ideology.

TIP: Observe your teacher vigilantly and ask them what they expect from you, so you can efficiently replicate their teaching style.

4. Fostering professional relationships with students

This is another vital part of being an effective teaching assistant because pupils often work more effectively in a positive classroom atmosphere where they feel comfortable among the staff. Also, comprehending each student’s unique background and academic capabilities can help teaching assistants support children appropriately, and endorse personalized learning experiences.

TIP: Find out your students’ backgrounds and abilities to ensure you support them effectively, according to their unique needs.

5. Communication is key

When working in schools because it needs to be clear and appropriate but also sensitive and empathetic. Intrapersonal skills are paramount for teaching assistants as they engage with individuals of various ages and abilities. For example, students require academic as well as emotional support, whereas conversations among work colleagues involve both professional and personal topics.

TIP: Alter your tone of voice and body language according to the individual or group of people you are addressing.

6. Teaching assistants should attain a good level of subject knowledge

It can enhance students learning experiences by extending their understanding beyond classroom teaching. Differentiation is a difficult task for teachers therefore assistants who are familiar with the education system are valued because they can support the students more effectively, especially those with special educational needs.

TIP: Research your school’s policies, the curriculum they follow, and revise the subject content so you can correctly answer any questions the students may ask.

7. Being creative and innovative

These are key characteristics for teaching assistants because typical classroom tasks involve creating displays and organizing small group activities. New and innovative ideas are welcome in schools because they can heighten the delivery of curriculum content and motivate pupils in their learning journey. Educational technology, for example, is a contemporary method for engaging pupils in the twenty-first century and facilitating enjoyable learning experiences. Programmes such as Quizalize offer classroom assessment opportunities where the data can be easily tracked and analyzed by teachers.

TIP: Do not be afraid to suggest and experiment with new ideas, as teachers appreciate additional input.

8. Teaching assistants should maintain a positive outlook

You should be willing to get involved with any task. Readiness to engage in messy or challenging activities and provide practical support, such as gathering resources, is highly valued by teachers.

TIP: Enthusiastically undertake any task asked of you however mundane or arduous it may seem.

9. Managing behaviour in the classroom

This is demanding for teachers, but when staff unite to employ the same level of discipline and behaviour management strategies then students’ behaviour is more likely to improve. Teaching assistants must use their authority appropriately and work in accordance with the classroom teacher to encourage good behaviour in the classroom.

TIP: Comply with the behavior management strategy used in the classroom, but do not undermine the teacher.

10. Finally, a teaching assistant’s role should not be underestimated

This is because efficiently supporting teachers and students requires hard work and dedication. Willingness to devote additional time and effort to ensure the job is carried out to the best of one’s ability is a key characteristic of an outstanding teaching assistant.

TIP: Work quickly and efficiently, whilst also putting 100% into all your duties.

Teaching assistants are important and valuable members of staff and their role involves more than simply reading with children and constructing displays. Teachers rely on their assistants to get physically involved during classroom activities, reinforce the subject knowledge taught in the classroom and emotionally support the pupils where necessary. By working together, teachers and their assistants can ensure students engage in high-quality learning experiences.

Do you agree with these top tips? What do you think makes a good teaching assistant? Comment below to let us know your thoughts.     

21 thoughts on “Top 10 Tips for Being an Effective Teaching Assistant”

  1. This is very spot on and valuable information. Thank you for sharing. I feel like the aides I work with are an extension of me. I value them and their work so much. It would hurt the learning process of my students if they were taken away.

  2. Pingback: The Easy Way to Differentiate your Teaching - Quizalize - Pinpoint Classroom Progress in Real Time

  3. There are many different types of teaching assistant positions, ranging from kindergarten assistants to high school special education assistants to college TAs. Your responsibilities as a teaching assistant will vary depending on where you are working, but there are a few key elements to becoming a valuable assistant in any learning environment.
    Helping with classroom management during lessons is the most important role of a teaching assistant. When the teacher is busy working with a student, you – the assistant – should answer questions other students have, assist students with their work, and give feedback or encouragement when needed.

  4. Teacher Assistant are the backbone of the class we make sure that the teacher can focus better on her class , that’s why I think my job is very important and I need to do the best of my capabilities.

  5. Awesome tips!! I have been a classroom TA for 15 years and am always looking for new and exciting ways to enhance our classroom environment, all while being a support to my teacher so that she can have a productive teaching environment with minimal distractions. I always look forward to the beginning of a new school year for it is then that teachers and TA’s can get together to plan a productive year.

  6. Great tips! I think every new support teacher should read this before they are hired. A support teacher has many responsibilites throughout the day. You want to help make sure that every class and student have a teaching environment that meets the student needs.

  7. These tips are fantastic! As someone that is currently studying to get my degree to become a teaching assistant these are great and helpful for me to be successful in my new role!

  8. Tips are greatly appreciated. I agree that it is important to take initiative, but as a new hire, I feel it is important to feel out the classroom. Learn the teacher’s teaching style, learn more about the students, sit back and relearn the classwork, (i.e. math). After some time you will be able to take initiative. I personally would want instruction from the teachers and staff until I understood how things work in that school or classroom.

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