Accept The Good And The Bad
Regardless of how well you prepare for your lesson plans, it’s important to understand that things don’t always go according to plan. Students may not find your materials engaging or your lesson is too short. Do not let yourself get discouraged during these trying times!
You Don’t Have To Know Everything
As a first-time teaching assistant, you may get assigned to a classroom outside of your experience or expertise. This may mean you can’t answer all of the questions students may have- and that’s okay! Considering your background and education, you will still have a better understanding of the assigned topics than your students possibly could. Use the unknown as a way to start a critical thinking conversation. More importantly, if all else fails, tell your students that you’re not sure and do some research during your break to follow up with.
Start With Group Work
One of the best ways to start out as a new TA is to assign the class group work. Students like working with peers and this will eliminate some of the first day pressure you have to deal with. Plus, many have an easier time sharing with a group of students versus the entire classroom.
Ask Students To Expand Dialogue
Many students feel nervous about talking in front of the class and need a bit of encouragement from the teacher or tutor. Do this by posing a question, and when a student answers, ask them to elaborate on their answer. You may even ask questions in regards to their answer to keep the dialogue flowing.
Always Prepare Ahead
Never start your day in the classroom without a properly thought out lesson plan. You will have 30 or more students looking at you, which is why you need to have an idea of what you hope to accomplish. Give yourself an outline for discussions and potential questions you may wish to ask.
Give Students The Time They Need To Answer
Many TAs have trouble with patience when it comes to dealing with students. Whenever you ask a question, give the student at least 10 seconds for them to collect their thoughts cohesively. Getting pushy may make some students feel they have been placed on the spot and they will simply feel uncomfortable.
It’s important for you to act like you care about your students, which is why you should download a list of names and learn them early on. Having everyone’s name down isn’t just practical, but shows your class you care about how well they do.
Always Prepare Extra Materials
Chances are, you don’t know for sure how long your class will run. There’s always the risk of blowing through your materials at a faster pace, which is why you should prepare extra lessons that add an additional 15 minutes to your schedule. Having some extra ideas will ensure you never run out of materials. For primary teaching assistants job search here and start a rewarding career as a teaching assistant.