Teacher Tips how to Cope with an Ineffective Teaching Assistant

Having an ineffective teaching assistant (TA) causes conflict and chaos in the classroom. The teacher and the TA need to collaborate and work as a team to achieve a harmonious and productive environment.  Usually, the main reason the TA is ineffective is lack of training and proper communication from the teacher.    

A teacher assistant plays an important role in the classroom.  Placing a TA in a classroom usually means there are students with needs and the TA needs specialized training.  The training encompasses understanding learning abilities, behavioral issues and any health considerations that are pertinent to their students.

Each student has a different learning style.  Experience working with each student and direction from the teacher will aide in successful delivery of each lesson.  Observing the interest sparked in the student and end results are usually a good way of measuring the efficacy of the strategies chosen.

Children with special needs tend to display behavioral problems.  Special training, trial and error will usually set the stage for a modification plan.  The teacher and guidance counselor are great resources on these plans and should be continually adjusted until the proper result is obtained.

There are certain children that are in these classes due to a health problem and need close supervision.  allergies and epilepsy are a few to mention.  Specialized training is required to monitor these conditions such as glucose testing, administering an a full-blown seizure.   Due to the life-threatening nature of these concerns, a TA must be effective and well trained.

Communicating with the TA on an ongoing basis is key to an effective working relationship in the classroom.  Each time the teacher shares lesson plans, communications with parents and general school scheduling changes, it cements the feeling of being an essential part of the team for the teacher assistant.  Teachers should always find time to spend with the TA to continue to enhance the partnership.

There are many debates if the title should be, Teacher Assistant or Student Assistant.   A TA would cite they are both and often operate in a reactive mode due to the daily unplanned events that can wreak havoc with regular scheduling.   Flexibility and confidence help to ensure successful managing of daily interruptions.

If after proper training, proper communication a TA still seems to be floundering, it may indicate other issues such as a poor fit of the person to the job, the age of the children or a personality conflict. After careful consideration, a change might need to be made.