Any teachers here willing to give advice to a new TA (KS2)(6 Posts)
I'm starting a new job in September as a TA at my son's Junior School and am VERY nervous! I've been helping there for a morning a week (3 hours) in Year 5 since January and loved it, but now I'm dwelling on it and worrying I won't be strict enough / helpful enough / clever enough / good at displays...you get the drift!!
I'd love any tips on behaviour management, what teachers' (on the whole) expect from a TA, and any other advice you can think of.
Oh, and to make matters worse, I:
1) Have been placed in my son's year (Year 4) so know many of the children - particularly those with IEP's who I will need to deal with on a one to one basis. It is a large school (4 forms per Year Group) so the chances are they will avoid me being in the same class as my son, but I still feel anxious.
2) I have to do Mid-day Supervision two days a week. I will have to look after two Year 5 classes on my own (60 children!!!)
Bumping as I'm pondering doing the TA training myself.
Don't panic it sounds like you've already had a lot of experience!
The best thing I think is to not be afraid to use your initiative. I know it sounds obvious but say when the teacher is doing the intro don't sit there just listening (unless they have asked you to e.g. stay with a particular child). If the teacher hasn't told you what to do get the idea of what the lesson is about from the planning or worksheets or whatever and prepare resources that will be needed, or plan how to follow up with a group. Try and anticipate what the teacher needs help with.
Re strictness, that's not your problem on a whole class level, just follow the teacher's lead. Use their reward/sanction system. If a child asks you something whilst the teacher is speaking just put a finger to your lips and point to the teacher rather than replying as it is very easy to get drawn into a conversation and become a distraction yourself!
If you are not given specific instructions in a lesson just go round offering support to the children who need it most and keep them on task.
With displays, you would often be given the stuff to go up. If it needs mounting stick to one or two colours. Lay it out with drawing pins first before getting the staple gun out!
Try to make sure you find the time to speak to your class teacher at the beginning of the day to find out what he/she would like you to do. As a matter of good practice the teacher should TRY to give you the weeks plans on Monday morning ( or even Friday afternoon if they are ultra organised!)but there is usually a great deal to do on a Monday morning and we often forget! You should certainly be told which group/child the teacher would like you to work with. Remeber you are now a member of staff and the children should treat you with as much respect as they do the class teacher. Offer to do things-even if the teacher says she would like to do it herself, she will remember the offer! many teachers think TA's are mind readers ( and they often are!) but if you don't understand anything SAY SO. If I say "would you mind putting up the RE display then I only have myself to blame if it isn't how I want it, if I say "can you double mount it on blue and green and write RE display in red letters" then that's what I would like to see!
Most of all, relax, enjoy yourself and feel proud that you've got the job, TA posts around here are fought over like hens teeth!
Congratulations on the job first of all. I've been both TA and teacher and I would second what corriefan and primarymum say. I teach KS2 and 3, so slightly different circumstances but communication is definitely the key. Our new year TA this year has been absolutely amazing, she instigated a communication book which acted as a to do list / place to note anything she needed to know from meetings / place to note things about childen in her care / stock request book, it has been so much smoother than last year. I've been lucky enough to work with some fantastic TAs and the best ones are those who use their initiative, communicate well and actually seem to like children (I've worked with a few who clearly don't and it's horrible for all concerned). On a would-be-comedy-if-it-hadn't-actually-happened note, don't put your hand up to answer questions firstly because I have a no hands up rule and secondly because you're 53, also please don't do that child's work for him, yes it does look prettier when you do it but he's perfectly capable of doing it himself(I have said this repeatedly to the woman in question, but with little effect).
I'm sure you'll be fab and if you ever have questions that can't be answered though mumsnet the TES community has lots of members, the TA bit is here Good luck!
Thank you all SO much; your replies are really helpful and have given me a great deal to ponder over the coming weeks!
I'll definitely sign up to the TES site, too. Lots of useful resources and contacts there, I'm sure.
Thank you also for the congratulations - TA jobs here are also highly sought after and I feel incredibly fortunate to have "bagged" one. Now I've got one, I want to make sure I do the very best job I can
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