10 Tips for Teaching Assistants

Becoming a teaching assistant can be an exciting and satisfying career choice, or it can be a great first stepping stone to begin your career in education. Either way, working with children and young people to help motivate them, support them with their learning and see them thrive both inside and outside school can be very rewarding.

However, any role in education can also be demanding and will require specific skills and knowledge to navigate and get the most out of the job.

If you are considering becoming a teaching assistant, we have some great tips to help you enjoy and succeed in the role.

Our top tips for teaching assistants

1. Communicate effectively with teachers, parents and carers

Excellent communication is crucial in any teaching role. Make sure you keep the class teacher informed of any issues or concerns, and ask for guidance or feedback when needed. It's also good to build relationships with other staff members as well as parents and carers of the pupils in your class.

2.Build positive relationships with students

Building trust and mutual respect with your pupils will help make your job easier and more enjoyable. Show interest in the students, praise their efforts, and be approachable.

3. Be patient and empathetic

Understand that students may have different needs and learning styles, and be supportive in helping them achieve their potential. Sometimes circumstances outside the classroom can affect how pupils learn or behave. By acting with kindness, being patient, and trying to empathise and understand your pupils, you'll build a rapport and feelings of trust.

4. Be flexible and adaptable

Being willing to take on a range of tasks and support in other areas of the classroom as needed is a crucial part of a teaching assistant role. Each day is different in teaching, so staying flexible and quickly adapting to changing circumstances is beneficial.

5. Use positive behaviour management strategies

Use positive reinforcement and praise good behaviour, while setting clear expectations and consequences for negative or disruptive actions simultaneously. Pupils should know what is expected of them and what the rules and boundaries are.

6. Be organised and efficient

Good organisation skills will help you manage your time and be more effective in the role. Keep track of schedules, paperwork, and resources, and make sure to use your time well. Take directions from the class teacher and prepare as much as possible in advance of the lesson to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible.

7. Take the initiative and be proactive

Look for opportunities to contribute to the classroom and the school. By taking the initiative to suggest ideas and take on additional responsibilities, you'll show how invaluable you are, which can help if you choose to progress your career.

8. Keep up-to-date with training and professional development

Attend training sessions and conferences to enhance your skills and knowledge. The better equipped you are to handle whatever comes your way as a teaching assistant, the more enjoyable and satisfying your job will be. Training and professional development opportunities can also open doors for advancing in your career in education too.

9. Work collaboratively with other teaching assistants and staff

Build a supportive network, share ideas and best practices, and work together to achieve common goals. Having a good support system in place can be invaluable in a teaching role.