Teaching Assistant Skills to be Best on the Job
To succeed as a teaching assistant requires certain skills and qualities. This post shows the skills you need to develop to be effective on the job and give your best performance.
But first …
Who is a Teaching Assistant?
A teaching assistant (TA) or teacher’s aide is a person who assists a teacher in a classroom.
Teaching assistants perform various duties which include assisting the teacher as the instructional leader in the classroom, helping the students, supporting the school, and performing many other tasks. See detailed teaching assistant job description.
They work in different environments, providing teaching assistance for both individuals and schools.
To be a good teaching assistant, here are fifteen skills and qualities you need to develop:
1. Assessment of Students’ Performances: Teaching assistants should be able to assess the performances of each student to see how they are doing, whether they are improving or not. They need to analyze how much efforts their students are putting to their work.
2. Preparedness: It is really helpful for teaching assistants to prepare different steps beforehand, so that the students can follow them and do the same. It is much better that way than just giving them a workload of assignments without prior preparation.
3. Learning Skills: Teaching assistants should learn to apply new information for solving problems and taking decisions both currently and in future. They should select and use training/instructional techniques and steps appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
4. Patience: This is a very important skill needed especially in a mixed classroom where there is a wide range of behaviors of students.
5. Availability: Teaching assistants should be able to keep very flexible office hours, and they need to give out their email and phone contacts so that students can reach them. And when students contact them they should respond as soon as possible.
6. Optimism: When the situation gets tough that students find it difficult to move ahead, the teaching assistant should give them encouragement. These students may have learning disabilities that make it hard for them to master certain subjects, techniques, or activities. But with the help of the teaching assistant, they can improve significantly.
7. Regularity and Dependability: Teaching assistants are enthusiastically dedicated to their students. If the students can depend on you for assistance, you may take the opportunity to work with them for an extended period of time, and this can be a way to build their confidence. You can also help them to improve their strengths and drop their weaknesses.
8. Communication Skills: Possession of strong written and oral communication skills will help make complex materials to be understandable to students. You may list examples of emails you’ve written to parents, administration and support staff, and so on, and make the students follow your pattern.
9. Organizational Skills: Teaching assistants should have a plan of what to teach, and make illustration of key points and important context, for students to combine different sections of activities, ranging from reading, labs, exams, lectures, and papers. Relate your present work schedule with what students are to learn in future. Focus on achieving long term goals, and always endeavor to end each class with a conclusion.
10. Positive: Teaching assistants should motivate the students to learn instead of depending on grades. They should stay focused, creative and innovative, and let the students see what is interesting about their subjects.
11. Experience with Children: Teaching assistants need to have previous experience in working with children. The experience could be with children in nursery, childcare, primary, or even secondary. The best way to gather relevant classroom experience is to volunteer within a local school for a few hours per week.
12. Teamwork: Teaching assistants should be able to function as a team member, cooperating and participating in joint sessions meant to enhance students’ school experience. They must receive instructions from teachers, principals, and sometimes from a student’s doctor.
13. Punctuality: A good teaching assistant should be punctual to work, having the ability to perform job responsibilities at the appointed time. Work irregularity and lateness is a display of unserious attitude and a sign of laziness, and must not be seen in the teaching assistant’s professional life.
14. Interpersonal Skills: A teaching assistant with strong interpersonal skills can work with all kinds of people even in a complex organization. They can handle difficult people and situations with professionalism and honesty.
15. Initiative: There are occasions when teaching assistants have to make their own decisions and exercise their professional judgment, despite the fact that they work under the guidance of a teacher.
If you are a teaching assistant looking for how to improve in the quality of work you provide, developing the above skills and qualities will help you to be best on the job.
Also, employers looking to hire a good teaching assistant can make the above skills and qualities a part of what applicants for the position should satisfy to be considered for the job.
Did you find the teaching assistant skills and qualities in this post useful in improving your performance on the job? Please, leave a comment in the box below.
If you are a teaching assistant who wants to be best on your job or a client who needs the services of a good and qualified teaching assistant, these skills will help you if you can develop them.
Do you have other skills you consider important to the success of a teaching assistant? Please share them in the comment box below.