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Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Waterfin, Apr 16, 2011.
Thankyou for your reply. Some good, simple ideas there for me to mull on.
I agree with LaureRiches' suggestions. I like having a copy of the plans, so I can see what's coming up; I may have some suggestions, or questions, and I can see the progression.
As you and your TA get used to working with each other you'll probably be able to communicate much quicker 'cos the routines are already in place.
They may seem like simple ideas Waterfin, but they make things soo much easier.
Keep your TA informed - as TAs don't usually (in my experience) go to staff meetings etc I have felt out of the loop in the past. For instance I didn't always know when small trips (eg to the library) were coming up or what the plan for sports day/parents' evening was going to be.
Likewise I would offer them an overview of your planning - you will get a feel for how much detail she wants but again, it's all about keeping her informed.
A personal one - don't always give her the low ability children to work with! I know they need support and I agree that using a TA to rpovide this is great - but sometimes think about swapping and letting her oversee the main class while you work with the low achievers. That way, the children get to work with both of you, and she will get a break from trying to drum the basics into the bottom group which can get a bit tiresome day after day...
Teach her to use the IWB if you have one and she doesn't already know how to use it. It's a really useful skill to have, and embarrassing when the children can use it better than you!
And basically just share the class, ask for her ideas, explain why certain strategies are useful, figure out what her talents are (is she great at art, does she love PE, really interested in history???) and what lessons she enjoys most. That way you can draw her in, make her part of the team and really enjoy working together. It's all about relationship really. Oh, and make each other a cup of tea now and again
Hope you enjoy having another adult in the classroom.
Sorry - must have got my line break tags wrong
I am currently a TA and I have found a few things helpful when I started the role.
Having lesson plans before the lesson and generally being 'in the know' is useful. I also liked having a chat with teachers for a quick briefing/debriefing about students who need extra help, who I should spend most my time looking out for, who would be particularly strong or weak, who needs work differentiated etc.
I liked having instructions and really valued how much support I was able to give... there is nothing worse than thinking 'I don't feel like I am doing anything!!!'
I was also told by one member of staff, 'don't feel like you will tred on my toes... if you see kids messing around in my lesson, tell them off!' I didn't feel awkward about classroom management after this.
Also, we worked effectively together when we kept all lines of communication open. Ask your TA's opinion about SOW's, students and how they cope, what went well, what could be better etc... that way, your TA will feel valued and may have some new ideas for you!
But as a poster previously said, just asking about this is really lovely and I don't think you will have any problems working as a team!
I have been a TA for nearly 20 years and I have found the teachers I get on best with and we both end up enjoying the year together are the teachers that include you, keep you in the loop and on occasions ask for your opinion/input, whether on the carpet when trying to get a certain answer out of the children or just to make sure you are listening!!???
We have our year group assembly coming up and last week I was asked to meet my two teachers in their PPA time, once there they asked me to join them in writing the script and planning the whole assembly. I have known one of the teachers for 15 years or more and the other one for about 5 years, and this is the second year of working with the pair. So we have a laugh and a joke and get on really well and it shows in the childrens learning. It also means that when I have to go from one class to another I know what's happening and can fit straight into the lesson.
None of the teachers are afraid to say, "Can you do this this way?" and none of the TAs take offence if asked to change the way they work - it's all part of the job finding a way to work together. The one thing that gets all our backs up is the one teacher who is rude to you in front of the class, who ignores anything you might say - valid or not - and who plonks photocopying down in front of you when you are eating your lunch or having a chat before you have actually started work and says its wanted NOW! She's the one most spoken about in the staff room, though to other teachers she is lovely, just has a problem with TAs I guess??
As all the other posters have said
Communication and mutual respect are vital.
Discussing planning in advance of lessons helps, although most TAs can think on their feet.
Have a laugh together when appropriate.
Discuss behaviour management and how you like things done.
Have a great time!