How to become a qualified teaching assistant

18th November 2021

8 Tips for Teaching Assistants

Tips that every teaching assistant needs to know


Working as a teaching assistant requires lots of excellent time management. Between writing your lesson plans and working with the teacher, the sheer scale of your workload could make you feel it’s impossible to pack everything into your day!


Here are 8 tips that might help you:-


Organise your workload


It’s very important to plan and manage your time. Without prioritising your time, you won’t be using it effectively and this could easily result in burnout. Try arranging your daily workload according to the importance of each individual task as this will allow you to know which tasks can be put on hold when your time is scarce. Try and rank your daily tasks in order, with the most important ones first and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to your day. If you’re on one of our work-placement Teaching Assistant courses you will need to spend between 3-6 hours per week in your school classroom.


Understand your own system


You need to develop your own personal system for all aspects of your day, tidying up, lesson planning, student attendance and more.

Find out what aspects of your school day you can control. You might be able to change the scheduling of class activities and stop a new activity that takes students away from the classroom.

Plan for smooth lessons, always try to have your resources and materials close by for each of your daily lessons/activities.

Improve student attendance by encouraging pupils and parents and letting them know how important good attendance is.

Your job as a teaching assistant is to help the classroom teacher. Even the pupils themselves can handle many classroom tasks that will save both you and the classroom teacher lots of time. Draw on your special strength and ability as a teaching assistant and work in small groups and provide individualised attention to pupils who need it. You can make instructional games, keep class boards current, arrange seating plans for lessons, read stories and assist in testing the pupils. T.A’s also provide help with housekeeping duties, school trips, school activities.


Organise the classroom


What member of the school doesn’t love walking into a classroom that has the pupils arts and craft skills on display? Try and use a creative approach to organising your classroom displays as this will boost productivity for both you and that of your pupils.


Look after your health


Tips for teaching assistants include health, which is important for both you and for your pupils to look after.  What you eat, the amount of sleep and your exercise is all-important. Getting this right brings the ability to relax and will help with energy and enthusiasm within the classroom.


Cut down on your workload


To try and reduce your workload and keep your pupils challenged, you can try verbal assessments to test out pupils. This will develop quick thinking habits and it’s also a lot more fun having many quizzes that the students can mark themselves or mark without your supervision.


Pupil behaviour


Having challenging pupils in your classroom can take up a lot of your time especially if the school doesn’t have any dedicated behavioural staff. The classroom should be a place where all students can learn in a safe and secure way.


It’s important for you to familiarise yourself with the latest thinking on how to manage pupil behaviour


Ask for help when you need it


Everybody needs a little bit of help now and again and there’s no shame in asking for it. It can be difficult trying to ask for help as quite often it might feel like you may be seen as incapable. It can help to show the person from whom you are requesting help knows you’ve tried to figure out the problem for yourself. For instance, you could say; I have tried Googling… and get to the point fast. If you can show that you’ve previously acted on a person’s advice that will also help you. Timing is also important for instance don’t ask for help first thing when the teacher is busy. If you’re not sure when is the most suitable time to seek someone out for help, ask them. Instead of just launching into your request, say, “I’d like to ask you for help with something. When would be the best time to talk about it?”

Tips for teaching assistants:- Guidance on how to ask for help