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New TA, behaviour management challenges

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by New-TA, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. New-TA

    New-TA New commenter

    Hello fellow TAs,

    I recently began a new career as a TA at a primary school (yr 1).

    I love many aspects of the job, however I am not sure where I stand re behaviour management so if anyone can help or advise, I'd be very grateful. I work in a class where there is quite a high level of need - with at least five pupils having SEN.

    The class can sometimes be quite unruly, however the teacher generally is able to keep them under control with a kind but firm hand. However, whenever she walks out of the room, they start to misbehave. I just don't seem to have a natural authority, another TA recently suggested I should smile less. I am quite laid back. It is not in my nature to be stern. I have been using rewards - perhaps not as consistently as I should. I personally believe a friendly approach of positive reinforcement is best, but this doesn't seem to work with the class. Others have advised me to take a firm/sterner approach, which doesn't come naturally.

    I am considering re-training as a teacher but am starting to doubt whether I should, given my lack of confidence in this area.

    Any general advice re behaviour management strategies specifically for TAs?
    Might I be better working with a different age group? Secondary even?
    Maybe it might be different in another school?
    Any courses that you could recommend?

    I love the creative side, imparting my knowledge and helping others/making a difference - especially to those with disadvantages. I don't want to give up on being a teaching assistant and potentially a teacher, so any advice will be gratefully received.

  2. New-TA

    New-TA New commenter

    Further to the above, might a CACHE Level 3 Supporting Learning in Schools course help?
  3. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    Watch how your teacher does it and model her. The children will soon realise that expectations are the same whoever is in.
    Have a chat with her for some tips.
  4. Trekkie

    Trekkie Occasional commenter

    Hi New-TA!

    This is not an uncommon problem. Work with your class teacher on behaviour management so that you follow the same rewards and sanctions and are consistent in their application. As you are new, the class may not see you as equal to the teacher and behave accordingly. Without losing your natural personality, find your sad/disappointed/not pleased face as well as your bright and smiley, well done /great sitting/super work face!! It's like being on stage - you need to act the part (even if you don't feel it!).

    Rewards are well received by this age group and can be used to great effect - talk to your class teacher about using stickers or whatever rewards your school has. Are there any experienced TAs in your school that you could 'shadow' and see how they deal with behaviour?

    Don't give up... you will find it easier as you gain experience. Like you, I too found this area more difficult but found my inner 'stern' when required!! :D Lasted nearly 20 years so it can be done!!
    sunshineneeded likes this.
  5. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Great advice from Trekkie, as always! Working as a team with the class teacher is essential. Perhaps you could also arrange to observe an experienced TA - either working with a group or, if TAs cover classes at your school, when they are covering.
    A CACHE level 3 Supporting Learning in Schools would be a great idea. It's a nationally recognised qualification and would develop your skills and knowledge. If you have the opportunity - go for it!
    Trekkie likes this.

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