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12th August 2019 - - 0 comments
10 Tips for New Teaching Assistants

Taking on a Teaching Assistant role is a great way of getting first-hand classroom experience before you embark on a PGCE. To help rid you of any first day nerves, we’ve put together a list of helpful tips to help prepare you for life in the classroom.

1. Show your passion

Students are very intuitive and will pick up whatever you put out. In other words, if you think the task is pointless and uninteresting, they are more likely to think this too. So, it’s super important that you are enthusiastic about every task that you are involved in.

2.  Memorise your student's names

While it might seem like a small task (or a big task depending on your memory) it can really make the difference. Addressing your students by their name helps you to establish a connection with them and gives them personal attention. In return, they are also more likely to give you their attention - which is often the most difficult thing to get!

3. Be proactive

If the teacher is dealing with an issue in class, don’t stand back and watch. Make yourself useful by minimising disruption and keeping the rest of the class on track. The Teacher will really appreciate this and so will the other pupils.

4. Be flexible

As a Teaching Assistant, you may work with a number of different teachers and students, who will all have different needs. You will need to be able to adapt, not only to different teaching styles but also to different learning styles.

5. Be patient  

They say don’t work with children or animals but here you are. Persistence is key so, be prepared to go over some parts of the lesson more than once to ensure that the students understand. Your students might not grasp things right away but don’t give up, with your help they will get there in the end!

6. Smile and be friendly

This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s an important one to remember. Think about the impression you might be giving. In order to be a successful TA you must be friendly and approachable otherwise pupils might not feel comfortable with you which will make them less likely to contribute.

7. Preparation is key

Prior to working with the students, you should aim to find out as much as possible about them. This might include things about their behaviour, what motivates them or their academic level. The more you know the more effective the support you provide will be.

8. Be attentive

Your role as a Teaching Assistant requires you be an extra pair of eyes and ears in the classroom. Therefore, if you notice anything out of the ordinary such as a change in behaviour you should report it the Teacher.

9. Stay calm

Schools can at times be stressful environments to work in and it is easy to get overwhelmed, however, remember to take a deep breath and stay calm. Rather than focus on the negatives of the situation, try to focus on the positives - everything will be okay in the end.

10. Communication is vital

It is important to communicate regularly with the teacher(s) you support in order to truly understand what they need from you. Aim to catch up after the lesson is over or even after school has finished so that you can discuss how you and your students can get the most from your time.

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