Top tips for teaching assistants
Supporting both teachers and pupils, teaching assistants have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that all pupils can reach their potential.
From providing basic assistance with learning to helping teachers to facilitate more engaging lessons and classroom activity, it’s a role that can make a big difference.
In order to thrive as a teaching assistant, it’s important to recognise what is required in the role and take active steps to ensure career development takes place. See our top tips below to help make it happen.
Have a good working knowledge of subjects
It’s an easy mistake to think it’s just teachers who require a sound knowledge of the curriculum, but teaching assistants need to know their stuff too.
While they can get away with not knowing some of the finer details, having a working knowledge of the key topics will enable a teaching assistant to support pupils more effectively in lessons. This is especially the case if providing assistance to pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.
Look at the topics from a strategic point of view, consider points of discussion and debate, and assess what sort of information might be needed – a little prior planning can make a big difference in the classroom.
Be vigilant and proactive
A teaching assistant should always be on the lookout for ways that they can provide support in the classroom for both the teacher and the pupil.
Not only does this remove pressure from the teacher, as it allows them to focus on the delivery of lessons, but it also encourages assistants to constantly use their initiative, helping with their professional development in the process.
Recognise the importance of communication
As a teaching assistant, communication plays a vital part in the role. Instructions to pupils need to be clear, guidance needs to be succinct and above all, support needs to be given in a sensitive and empathetic way.
It will be necessary to engage with pupils of all ages and abilities, and each will require a differing level of support. Body language is also vital, as staff need to welcoming, while still projecting an image of authority.
Teachers will often be thankful for the support of a teaching assistant and there is plenty of freedom in the role to provide a level of creative input.
That could be with the design of eye-catching wall displays or by putting forward new and innovative ideas for lesson activities or for boosting pupil engagement.
A teaching assistant should always feel that they can make suggestions and experiment with ideas, especially when looking at ways of supporting challenging pupils, for example.
If you're looking for teaching assistant jobs in your area, get in touch with your local team today to see how we can find the perfect role for you!
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