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Teaching Assistants Are Your Ally

We recently launched our white-paper focussing on the decision-making processes operating between teachers and teaching assistants. Many of our teachers have been writing in explaining the relationship they have with the teaching assistants they work with. Stephen takes us through his experience. 

You know your subject and you may well know to teach it very well. When supply teaching what you often don’t know is the school and the pupils. Pupils often know the school rules better than you do and are always eager and ready to take advantage of the supply teacher. In this situation any help that you can get to redress the balance is invaluable.

Teaching assistants, science technicians and design technology technicians have all been incredibly helpful to me over the years. They know the pupils names, where they sit and how they normally behave. If a lesson plan is not clear then the teaching assistant or technician may be able to clarify it and they usually know where all the books and resources are.

Some teaching assistants will be keen to challenge pupil behaviour and I always make a point of backing them up by making some comment so that all the pupils see that both teacher and teaching assistant are working as a team and that boundaries must be respected.

Teaching assistants are often assigned to individual pupils but they still know the rest of the class. If any pupils are trying it on by not following the seating plan then the teaching assistant will usually point this out. Some will tell pupils to sit in their own seat. Its usually the little things like this that make all the difference to the smooth running of a class so I make a point of being positive and firm by following up straight away by telling the class to sit in their usual seats.

If a pupil is pushing the boundaries and the teaching assistant mentions a warning then I usually take the hint and give the pupil a warning. The more experienced teaching assistants will support you and make your job so much easier. Some will take it upon themselves to issue warnings to pupils and it can feel like they are taking over a little. If this is the case then it can be a case of being assertive and aligning your expectations so that you are seen to be working in unison.

Teamwork is the key to a successful lesson!

Would you like to share your view on your relationship with your teacher or teaching assistant? Email Megan ( for more information on how you can get involved. 

Tags: Stephen, Sheffield, Secondary

Category: Australian Teachers

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