What qualities make a good teaching assistant?
Teaching assistants are a crucial element of our education system nowadays. They provide important support to teachers and students alike and we know first-hand how much schools value them. Whilst every school can set their own requirements for what they look for in a teaching assistant there are many admirable traits that all the good ones have.
They’re good with children
Believe it or not, they’re good with children. That’s kind of a prerequisite which we thought might be good to get out at the top of the list. However, from an education perspective, it’s much more than that. A great teaching assistant understands how children learn and develop. They know that each child is different and offer a child-centred approach. This means they’re able to adapt their style to the student.
Flexible and adaptable
As well as being flexible in the sense that they’re able to offer a different approach to each child, they also need to adapt to the ebb and flow of a teacher’s lesson. Whilst the best-laid plans of a lesson can go right, they can sometimes go awry. As such a great teaching assistant will be able to adapt to how the teacher provides the lesson. One minute they will be attending to a child individually, the next they will be working in a group. So being able to adapt is really important.
Solid literacy and numeracy skills
Of course, as a teaching assistant, it is pivotal that as they impart the knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic to younger generations, they do so correctly. But the ability to know it and to explain it are two different things. That’s why, in addition, to knowing, they need to have the communication skills to explain it. That’s what makes the best teaching assistant.
Ability to communicate effectively
As mentioned above, communicating teaching to students is important but there will also be times when they will provide feedback to parents and guardians. Building a rapport with both students and parents alike is important. The latter need to be safe in the knowledge that they’re able to provide the best education possible.
Teaching assistants are prepared
In as much as the teacher plans the lesson, teaching assistants can also plan their day. Knowing in advance what will be taught that day or week offers an advantage to plan out how they may deliver their messages to the children during the lessons. Unfortunately, doing it ad-hoc can see a reduction in effectiveness. The best teaching assistants we work with will meet with the teachers to find out the plan for the week.
They’re able to provide effective feedback
Teaching assistants are on the front-line. They’re working with children face to face and can spot if a child is falling behind or, is disengaged. Problems can be addressed quickly, whether it’s a child who is struggling with the pace or if one is excelling but is bored of the slow pace. Either way, a teaching assistant can provide this feedback to the teacher and any issues can be addressed quickly.
Attend TA courses
At The Classroom Partnership, we provide a range of CPD courses for our candidates. Our certified training is one of only a number of ways TAs can access courses. The best in the business are passionate about continuous professional development. What we find is that the TAs who engage in training the most are often the ones who are the best in the business. As such, they are offered the best jobs which can go permanent since schools are always looking for excellent teaching assistants.
To find out more about our teaching assistant positions on our partnership company website Connex Education.