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Student in need of some advice!

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Colaaddict, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Hi everybody, this is my first post after reading the forum for a few weeks. I noticed how supportive everyone is on here so thought I would ask some advice.

    I am currently helping out at a primary school which runs along side my TA course. I am really enjoying it, however I sometimes feel like I don't know what I am doing and feel I can't offer support to the children. As a teaching assistant, should I see a lesson plan before the lesson starts? I would find this useful because I would be able to know what I am doing and plan the night before. I am young and don't feel comfortable asking the teacher as they may feel i am checking up.

    Also I am looking at securing a primary school TA job starting in September and it doesn't look like anything is coming up at the school I am helping out at. Would I be able to apply for other schools? Or does this look bad and may annoy my current school as they gave me the chance to learn the ropes.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Hi everybody, this is my first post after reading the forum for a few weeks. I noticed how supportive everyone is on here so thought I would ask some advice.

    I am currently helping out at a primary school which runs along side my TA course. I am really enjoying it, however I sometimes feel like I don't know what I am doing and feel I can't offer support to the children. As a teaching assistant, should I see a lesson plan before the lesson starts? I would find this useful because I would be able to know what I am doing and plan the night before. I am young and don't feel comfortable asking the teacher as they may feel i am checking up.

    Also I am looking at securing a primary school TA job starting in September and it doesn't look like anything is coming up at the school I am helping out at. Would I be able to apply for other schools? Or does this look bad and may annoy my current school as they gave me the chance to learn the ropes.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  3. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    Oh Colaaddict - you have hit on one of my favourite subjects! OF COURSE you should see a lesson plan - or at least have some kind of information about the lesson in advance. You are by no means the only one who isn't though, unfortunately. You should have information about the lesson so that you can be prepared as possible to support the kids. For example - I struggle to remember the names of 3D shapes - so if I knew in advance that we were going to cover that in a maths lesson - I would brush up in advance. Also, I have loads of fabulous resources at home and know of loads in our school (that are stored outside of our classroom) - so if I have advance notice, I can provide those resources that I know are going to help the group I will be working with. In the school where I work, a lots of TAs are running interventions at the start of lessons, and so miss the starter - but of course are expected to walk in part way through a lesson and support the lowest achievers - with no knowledge of what the lesson is about! OK, rant over. If you are constructive in the way in which you ask your teacher ("would it be possible for you to show me where you keep your lesson plans - so that I can review then in advance, and be more prepared to add the most value possible to the children") - HOPEFULLY you will get a positive response. Good luck!
     
  4. I agree, you should always have a lesson plan prior to the lesson. I manage the TA's at my school, and always offer a good induction process and support. Our teachers email their plans once they have done them, and we have our own file in the classroom to keep them, plus any other info we need regarding the children. Is there a TA manager/lead TA who you could ask advice? Regarding looking for another job, you could always put on your application form that you would only like your references looked into if there was a job offer. Saying that, your school should be supportive seeing that there is no job for you in September!!
     
  5. Thank you both for your lovely positive responses! I am going to ask about the lesson plans because at times I feel completely useless in the lesson! I don't like going into school, and not knowing what is happening in the lesson that particular day. Is it normal for the class teacher to encourage me not to help the children? I sometimes find that I'm a spare part because I'm told that they are taking advantage of my good nature. Aghh it's stressing me out
     
  6. Hi colaaddict,

    I wonder what you mean by "help the children" ? Often the role of TA is simply to encourage children to stay on task, probe their thoughts and encourage them to think differently through Q&A and a little scaffolding, if they are not understanding the work. I wonder if the children are encouraging you to do the hard work for them? Do you find yourself showing them how to do the task or do you encourage them to show you by asking them "what do we do here".

    If you find yourself leading the children, rather than them leading you, then the Teacher does not get a full picture as to how the child is coping with the work and that is not good for pupil nor Teacher.

    Absolutely ask about lesson plans, also ask the Teacher if they will give you feedback on the support you do offer in class that they may have observed, pointing out that you are looking to improve your practise and reflect on how you could make things better for the pupils, the teacher and yourself. Most teachers are supportive of staff who are looking for some experienced input and observation :)

    Wishing you well.
     
  7. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    By the way - feel free to ask to observe other TAs, to get an idea of how they work with the children. The school should encourage your development. The previous poster is absolutely correct that "helping the children" should not involve doing the task for them, but rather coaching them through - this is a skill that needs practice. Good luck x
     
  8. I agree, ask to see an experienced TA at work and you will pick up lots of tips and ideas.
    Thinking back to when I first started as a TA I would get anxious if the children didn't complete the task to a high standard so would sometimes find myself spoon feeding the children. I worried that the teacher would think I wasn't doing my job properly if the work wasn't finished.
    However with experience I learned that the art of being a good TA is being able to adapt what you have been given to teach. If the children are struggling you alter what you teach, you break it into manageable chunks, scaffold the learning, go back to the beginning etc. Conversely the work isn't stretching the children so you extend the activity and offer more challenge.
    This is of course difficult if you don't know what the learning objective of the lesson is. Planning is useful as it contains extra information about the lesson but if it isn't forthcoming keep an eye on the Learning Objective (WALT and WILF) that the children are given. It will help you to focus on what the children should be learning.[​IMG]

     

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