Am I allowed here - what do you want out of a TA?(11 Posts)
Just realised this is long, but thought some background might help...
I live in a weird and wonderful country.
My primary aged kids are at the British School here. They follow the National Curriculum (with some extras - so for example my y3 is having French lessons, but also local language lessons, the Religious education focuses on the cultural and religious aspects of this country, as well as alluding to religious things happening round the world).
I know they are desperate for substitute TAs, so I dropped the headmaster a line saying if there was anything a degree educated, but no school experience, parent could help with, I would be happy to help. I was expecting to be asked to photocopy or similar. I have been asked to go in and shadow the TAs for 3 days, with a view of them calling when they need a TA in the classroom as existing TAs are ill or on holiday (yes, this happens, teachers too).
My qualifications are: English as a native speaker (but dyslexic), primary aged kids who are generally considered well behaved, scientific degree, and decade in research laboratories.
If I was to turn up in your classroom next week (in addition to your current TA), what would you expect from me?? What would you like me to do? Any suggestions, do's, dont's???
Thank-you in advance.
Ask who neediest students are and sit with them. If they struggle with writing, help them do writing, ask questions to check they have understood it, keep bringing them back to task. Crucially, not talking while the teacher is trying to teach!
Don't talk while the teacher is talking, not even to the child you are helping. It's impossible to get the full attention of the class if the ta is having a conversation. Just say "hang on, mr/Mrs x is talking now" and wait!
If you are general support rather than with one specific child, move around the room. Look for trouble! Or kids going off task at least, and swoop in.
Ask the teacher what they want you to do before the lesson starts, preferably more than 2 minutes before!
I teach in secondary, and get the impression you're talking about primary age school, so someone else will probably end along in a little while with better advice soon!
Yes. Primary kids, and general class support.
So, listen to teacher, so I know what's happening, and look out for who needs bringing back onto task. I've been asked to get there half and hour before the bell goes (and the bus time makes it more like 45 mins early), but I equally imagine that's quiet a hectic part of the day!!!
Not a teacher, but regularly have people shadowing assistants here before they start work.
If you're shadowing, I'd expect you to be a shadow - not asking me to give you things to do, but just following unobtrusively behind the person you're shadowing, watching what she does and how, learning where things are, getting a feel for the class. Watching and learning rather than actively participating. Don't be a distraction, but if a child asks for help with shoelaces or pencil sharpening or similar then be an extra extra pair of hands.
Definitely don't do what one shadow we had did. Grab a child, cuddle them on their lap, refuse to stop when asked because child was enjoying it (yes they were, but they had a behavioural management plan in place to deal in part with inappropriate physical attention, something that shadow wouldn't have known at the time), don't get huffy if you're asked to do or not do something, and don't tell everyone how differently you'd do things and how we're all doing it wrong!
She wasn't asked back...
Listen to the teacher's input at the start of a lesson so you know what the kids are supposed to be doing, I second not talking whilst the teacher's doing input, hopefully the teacher will direct you towards a group to sit with and help but, if not, look around and see if anybody needs help.
If a young children's class is gathering on the carpet at the end of the lesson and the teacher is not quite ready (explaining something to a child etc) it's lovely if a TA draws the group together, saying something like "who wants to talk about their story....?"
Will get them all looking at you and sitting down rather than milling about, but check this is ok with the teacher first.
I have one TA who does this naturally and I love it.
YY to not talking while the teacher is talking.
General tidying always helps, things like sharpening blunt pencils, picking up stray scissors. Ask how they like their work to be collected in- some people will do it alphabetically, some people like to train the children to do it etc.
Fab, thank-you. There is a recuring theme of listen to the teacher, rather than talk when they are talking!!! And yes, I'm there to learn. Good point.
Monday, here we come!!
What everyone else said! Don't be afraid to do behaviour management, but keep it low key. My class is excitable so I try to keep it calm and serious when I'm managing behaviour, rather than loud and intimidating, but one of my TAs was shouting at children to listen to me while I was talking!
Focus on understanding rather than getting the answers written down - that too often ends up with children being 'guided' too heavily to the right answer and unable to function without a TA helping.
Right, one more stupid question. Just had confirmation my first stop is the headmasters office. Do I call him Joe, or Mr Blogs?? (Sunday is a working day - the kids are at school, DH is at work).
Fwiw, If I was a teacher, the kids would call me Mrs/Ms/Miss Dessert. As a TA I will be Miss In.
Tricky. Wait and see how he introduces himself. I call head by first name. I think err on first name.
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