7 Traits of Effective Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistants are certainly integral to the running of any school and although vastly appreciated and valued by most, some can take them for granted or fail to realise their immense contributions.

What you don’t often hear colleagues say is that all teaching assistants are leaders in some capacity.

But they are.

They have to lead teaching, learning and assessment just like their teaching colleagues. Teaching Assistants (TAs) are teachers too remember and many are brilliant leaders in and out of the classroom.

Not convinced?

Well they are because they readily say yes to opportunities, challenges and the unknown.

Here are seven traits that effective teaching assistants embody:

1. They treat others with respect

Teaching assistants work across the school and often with learners with the most complex needs. They are skilled at developing positive relationships with others and especially pupils with challenging behaviours.

They are also skilled at reading their adult colleagues and providing them with kindness, moral support and  empathy.

2. They manage up

Effective Teaching Assistants anticipate the needs of those around them, including their adult colleagues and this makes them good leaders.

They are skilled at being one step ahead when it comes to pupils’ needs and they help to support the self-confidence of others and contribute to community wellbeing by knowing their school population and what makes learners tick.

3. They are good listeners

TAs are good at helping to resolve issues, both large and small. The best TAs create safe and  approachable environments where pupils can ask questions and be honest about errors and themselves. They do this by being good counsellors and excellent listeners.

4. They communicate well

TAs respectfully ask questions and give thoughtful answers. They provide recognition and encouragement. They champion children and their needs.  They talk without being defensive and can admit when they are wrong.

In short – they communicate with care.

5. They know policies and procedures

TAs nurse need to possess an excellent working knowledge of school policies and procedures that impact their working practice environment. Addressing problems with learners, resources and organisational matters takes time and commitment. TAs recognise when there are issues and show determination in creating solutions to prevent or eliminate barriers for success.

6. They use critical thinking

TAs must use critical thinking to make important daily decisions in areas relating to special needs and and to support their colleagues generate creative solutions to obstacles.

TA leaders don’t wait to be told what to do, they are alert, proactive and identify solutions. They can turn problems into opportunities for improvement and feed progress and achievement through their actions.  education. They are creative thinkers who teachers often turn to for help and inspiration.

7. They never stop learning

TAs equip themselves with acquired strategies that prepare them to succeed in their role. They are eager to share in and contribute to the latest teacher training opportunities and develop their own expertise.

TAs devote time out of hours to nurturing their own progress and actively seek ways to become better at their jobs.

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