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A Big Up to the Teaching Assistant Army

What would you do without your teaching assistant? Miranda is grateful for the ones she has had the privilege to work with. 

As a supply teacher, who mainly works short contracts, and mostly day to day,  I find that teaching assistants make a big difference to the quality of my day and the effectiveness of my teaching. If I get to work and there is a handbag already in the corner, a steaming brew on the go, and possibly the noise of the staple gun firing up a few early morning rounds, I know it’s going to be a good day.

Now don’t get me wrong, everywhere you go, there are people who hate their job, despise their boss and know they can do a better job than everyone ever to darken the doors of the stock cupboard with a degree certificate. Just as a good teaching assistant can brighten every moment of your day, a disgruntled teaching can make your day feel like you’ve spent two-weeks in Grange Hill, the Phil Redmond years (bear with me if you’re under 35).

On balance though, I have supportive, clever and practical teaching assistants to thank for guiding me up my learning curve as an NQT. When you’re on supply, the class teacher isn’t there. You are the class teacher. But the teaching assistant is your key to unlocking the learning styles, trigger points and peccadillos both of the class and of the teacher you are covering for. Here’s my five best moments with teaching assistants in school around Manchester and Stockport. Thank you ladies and gents.

In no particular order…a virtual raffle ticket/star/award assembly certificate/ Moshi Monsters sticker/and an extra five minutes of golden time go to…

  1. The teaching assistant who was motherly towards me on my first day in front of a class since qualifying. She patted me on the back and told me that she couldn’t tell. She said I’d made it through, and should feel proud of myself. Then she told me to go home and drink wine…
  2. and, of course, I did.
  3. The teaching assistant who came in to tell me I had an urgent phone call then hissed in my ear in the corridor…’Joshua’s about to kick-off. Get him on his own and offer him time out or he’ll take half the bloody tables down.’
  4. The million and one teaching assistants who know and will tell you exactly where to find the spare blu tac, staplers, glu sticks and clay, meter sticks and IT robot thingummies. And even more so, the teaching assistants, who will go to that little-known cupboard and find the stuff for you.
  5. My wonderful teaching assistant in a recent long-term role. She bought me a cup of tea and a chocolate snack on the days when I went through break with readers and onto a Key Stage meeting at lunch. She knew when to get involved and when to keep her counsel. And you could rely on her for the most wicked gossip.
  6. The teaching assistant who gave me some excellent constructive advice on throwing my fairly soft voice in the classroom without ending up with a sore throat. This helps me every single day. Thank you Mrs S!  

Miranda is a primary teacher who has worked with Protocol Education and is a regular blogger for us.

Tags: Miranda, Manchester, NQT, supply

Category: Australian Teachers

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