Teaching Assistants play a vital role in creating a successful and inclusive classroom. Managing a class is a big undertaking, even for the more experienced classroom teacher, and their accountability covers a varied assortment of activities. This is where the Teaching Assistant (TA) comes in.
TAs offer invaluable support to the classroom teacher. They help to set up the classroom, mark papers, answer student questions, look after 1-2-1 students, support students in accomplishing tasks and can even supplement course materials and lessons from time to time. A TA will help to manage student behaviour in a discreet manner without disrupting the whole class and allowing the focus remains on the Teacher to deliver effective teaching.
TA’s will also often go one step further to build happy and valuable relationships with students, parents and other staff members at the school. They play an essential role and are often unsung heroes.
For this reason, we have compiled our top ten reasons why we think TAs are vital for a happy and productive classroom.
1. They can always lend a helping hand
Many children are overwhelmed by packed classrooms and are unable to take things in, especially for those beginning primary school it can be quite daunting. Teaching assistants play a pivotal role in important one on one sessions and helping children overcome their anxieties.
2. They provide access for children
Previously many children with disabilities would not have been able to access education so easily as they can today without help from specialists. Teaching assistants today are highly trained in supporting with mental and physical disabilities, speech and language issues, behavioural difficulties and a range of other conditions. It’s a tough job however very highly rewarding.
3. They are a great sounding board
Having a second pair of eyes and ears in the classroom can help a classroom teacher greatly when it comes to assessment. Whether recounting an incident or reviewing progress, the second opinion of a TA can be a great impartial view to your own.
4. They help your child find a Eureka breakthrough
Reading a tough word for the first time, reaching the end of a book or finally cracking a Maths problem, that excitement on a child’s face when they explode back into the house with a gold star could be thanks to the TA.
5. Reduces the pressure off of the teacher
A class full of thirty students all needing help during a difficult lesson is impossible ground to cover for one person. A teaching assistant will help ease the load off of the teacher allowing them to focus on what they do best – teaching. TAs can be utilised in situations for all students to reap the benefit.
6. Class control
Teaching assistants help to control the classroom by identifying those difficult students or helping the teacher implement rules and taking the appropriate action where required.
7. Teaching assistants work together with the teacher to implement strategies
A teacher and their assistant can work together and identify a group of people that need some intervention. Whether it’s a group finding the work difficult and need a helping hand or a group needing a good push because they’re excelling, having someone to take them aside means that there’s less chance of a child being left behind or held back.
8. They’re friendly and approachable
Teachers have a position of power and authority and even though they can come across assertive they are in fact lovely, down to earth wonderful people. However due to their power, they can be harder to approach, and many students find it easier to talks to the teaching assistant instead.
9. They do a lot behind the scenes
There’s no such thing as a 9-3 job for a teaching assistant. Many arrive very early and/or stay behind after school finishes to help plan lessons, prepare the classroom, monitor and report on progress as well diving into the daily tasks of school life.
10. They can also team teach
Interactive lessons are always a big hit especially when they are a bit different and are not just the same face lecturing them from the front of the room. Having seen teaching assistants and teachers join forces to deliver fun and exciting presentations, pieces of drama and even singing a song together, make a difference in keeping students focused and engrossed by their learning.
For many pupils, the teaching assistant is more than just a face in the class. They are a big part of their life who can have a serious impact on their future. To ensure you are embracing your TAs to their full potential as we know just how much value they can bring.
About our Community Expert
Marketing & Comms Director at Opogo
Joseph has over ten years’ experience in building, developing and managing high-performance marketing teams across B2B and B2C businesses.
Joseph is passionate about improving the working conditions and the value proposition for educators as he believes they are our most valuable resource in continuing to drive the world forward.
Joseph is the Marketing and Communications Director at Opogo.