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Knowing what I can ask of a TA

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by atics, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Hi
    I am new to a school with lots of TAs; I haven't had much experience working with them in the past. For the record, almost all of the TAs who are in my lessons (secondary) are absolutely fantastic professionals who really advance the learning of students.
    I'm finding it difficult to know what to ask of the TAs in terms of the responsibility I can expect them to have.
    For example, I would like to ask some of my TAs if they have any advice about my teaching (with difficult classes, is there anything they have seen me do/say that is glaringly obvious to anyone but me that could help me improve what I'm doing) but I fear that is beyond the remit of the TA and puts them in a difficult position. But I would genuinely love to know what they think (am I too soft, am I too strict, do I create too much conflict, would there be a different style that would work better?).
    Another thing is directing them. I'm happy to 'tell them what to do using my professional judgement' but to be honest the TAs I work with are professionals who also are very skilled but can I expect them to make decisions about what is best for students? For example, is it reasonable to ask the TA if they think it would be better for them to stay in with the class, or take out a small group for a period of time? Or should I be making those decisions alone? I can make the decisions, don't get me wrong, but I'd rather have their take on it, especially as it's them who has to carry out the decisions.
    I want to make best use of my TAs but I don't want to expect too much of them - how can I find the boundaries?!
  2. tamtams

    tamtams New commenter

    Hi, It was lovely to read your post, as you come across as a very caring person who appreciates TA's and the work they do. Speaking for myself I wouldn't mind at all if you asked me these questions, when I start working for a new teacher I will always say if there's anything that I do or say that you feel is not right please tell me, this has always worked for me. As you have stated the TA's you work with sound very professional so I'm sure that if you ask them questions in the way you have stated above there will not be a problem. I feel quite chuffed when a teacher asks my opinion on something, ,it makes me feel valued, rather than just saying I want you to do this and I want you to do that. I work 1-1 with child who has ADHD so I am not a class TA however, the teacher will always ask me first about certain things, and I will offer my opinion as to whether I think it will work or not, and visa versa I will always say what do think if we did this do you think this would work. It's all about respecting and valuing each other, I would gladly work alongside you, you have the right attitude and do not come across as a person who appears to know everything, and does actually value TA's opinions and wont ignore their input. Your key wording here is ASKING and not just TELLING and then listening to their views, would work for me and would certainly work for the class TA's in my school.

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