What do you look for in a teaching assistant?

(18 Posts)
TheOnlyColditz Thu 15-Sep-16 15:30:06

I'm doing a level 3 TA course, should take about six months and then will be seeking school employment. I'm assuming I need to get some classroom experience so I'm planning to volunteer - anything else?

TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 15-Sep-16 17:07:28

Voluntary experience is absolutely essential.

If you have another skill that the school can use for enrichment activities (gardening club or Spanish or something) that would help you to stand out.

TheOnlyColditz Thu 15-Sep-16 17:39:30

I'm musical? Can read music, play piano, flute and trumpet etc - is that useful in schools nowadays or is it all bought in?

TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 15-Sep-16 17:48:34

That would be a huge bonus smile especially playing piano! A school assembly isn't the same without a piano and very few teachers can play now.

CreepingDogFart Fri 16-Sep-16 22:46:28

This sounds trivial but it's so important to have a good sense of humour.

momtothree Fri 16-Sep-16 23:19:31

Thick skin
Don't expect any thanks

Be helpful - teacher busy teaching - go tidy something : put a display up : wash the paint pots - sort the cloakroom - track down lost pumps -

Change the displays -

Have lots of ideas for games - 5 mins filler for maths - popcorn Simon says (add time so they wave their arms) guess who -

calzone Sat 17-Sep-16 23:25:36

Be flexible
Willing to take criticism
Be able to Think ahead
Good sense of humour

Wear sensible bloody clothes in summer. I wince at maxi dresses sweeping the ground and flip flops. Ouch!!!

Do you have any classroom experience? I would recommend that before taking course. It may not suit when you actually try it!

Musical skills sound fab 😊 I did a cache course and though work experience wasn't compulsory it definitely helped those of us who had some.

AllPizzasGreatAndSmall Mon 19-Sep-16 23:26:20

Don't expect any thanks
In my experience good teachers do appreciate TAs and thank them.

panad317 Mon 19-Sep-16 23:36:00

Musical skills are a massive bonus! Definitely get some experience, even if all you can get is reading for an hour twice a week! Using your initiative and common sense is helpful too!

MidniteScribbler Tue 20-Sep-16 01:50:50

Don't sit around waiting for the teacher to tell you what to do, and don't interrupt them in the middle of teaching to ask for something to do. Take some initiative, and if you have a bit of down time, tidy the books, file something, laminate. Ask before the day starts 'is there anything you'd like me to try and get to if I get some spare time today?'.

Offer to do things. I had a TA who offered to read a book each day to the class (something I already did everyday). Those fifteen minutes each day were fantastic just to get some things done, and while 15 minutes may not seem like much, it can be just to get a lesson set up, or fill out the communication books, but it makes a big difference.

Moonrocks6 Tue 20-Sep-16 03:13:21

Don't just sit and listen when the teacher is teaching. Position yourself so that you can quickly and silently deal with anyone who is not listening without the teacher having to break off.
Know which kids are likely to need extra help during inputs and get down on the carpet with them etc.

Have a bank of playtime games and actually play with the children, especially engaging those who are getting a bit boisterous.

Don't spoon feed. I've had a few TAs who's expectations of what children can do are low or who let them copy etc for an easy life. It is so frustrating.

Get to know routines and follow them. Consistency is key to stopping the little darlings taking the pee. Things like changing reading books are time consuming, if you are able to fit those things in without them interfering with teaching it makes such a difference.

We expect such a lot from our TAs these days. Almost like a second teacher. Good luck. Hope that you enjoy it. smile

CakeNinja Wed 21-Sep-16 19:59:00

I get an awful lot of thanks in my LSA position. I speak on behalf of our whole support team when I say we feel very valued and appreciated on the whole.
Not every day is a bunch of roses for us, but we are seen as equals with school staff and I can't say the same for every school I work in.
The use of your initiative is imperitive, a smile and good sense of humour go a long way. And patience. Endless amounts of patience!

RamsayBoltonsConscience Sat 24-Sep-16 15:43:56

Don't call the teacher 'Miss!' I've just started in a new school and the LSA (male) insists on calling me that despite me asking him several times to call me Miss RamsayBoltonsConscience in front of the children and by my first name when not. It's driving me insane! hmm

Kindlygreen Sat 24-Sep-16 20:44:38

Volunteer at more than one school if you can. Different schools are run in very different ways.

Fletcherl Sun 25-Sep-16 15:30:45

Common sense , initiate , kindness, good manners and tea.

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