Secondary and primary schools are where children from 4-18 years old are supposed to be welcomed by all teachers and staff, safe & secure learning environment, treated with respect and where pupils come to learn & receive support when required.
Employing the right school children’s teacher assistant (TA) with a good personality & traits ensures a positive work place and pupils receive the support they expect. At times school TAs bring personal problems & bad attitudes to work and this affects students learning in class and working relationships with teachers.
As a secondary school teacher I seen and heard bad comments & behaviour directed at pupils that shouldn’t have happened, and could have been avoided.
11 horrible teaching assistant school examples
- Telling a pupil you’ll be no good for anything when you get older.
- TA is unsupportive to school pupils in class writing comments in students work books saying “this is wrong and you’re wrong again as usual.
- TA telling school students in class “I couldn’t care or less about any of you’re learning as am leaving this school soon.
- Shouting at a school student in front of other students for no real reason.
- Sharing personal information about a school student that’s negative to other class members or spreading gossip about students you know from outside school.
- Teacher assistant frustrated or bad tempered taking it out on school pupils and teachers.
- Using inappropriate language & comments towards & in front of students.
- TA has poor work ethic and attitude, just in the job temporally to make some money.
- Uncooperative while working with other TAs or teachers in class and around school ignoring instructions and doing duties the way they want.
- Making up false stories/information where the TA wants to cover something up for they’re inadequacies and poor working practices.
- Horrible school TA that undermines teachers in class and argumentative trying to get they’re own way on how a lesson should be taught.
What makes a bad teaching assistant?
Problems with a teaching assistant can stem from a number of reasons from disinterest in the job, unhelpful, uncooperative, unprepared, lack of sills, knowledge or training and poor attitude towards pupils and work colleagues.
Talking out loudly about pupils lives in a poor part of town so other students over hear the conversation, shows clear disrespect for students. Additionally, a TA commenting during a PE lesson “you should eat more healthy foods and loose weight so you can run faster” is indirectly stating the child is fat, which is a terrible comment to make.
Telling a pupil you’ll be no good for anything when you get older
Schools do all they can to recruit the right class assistants with desired personal traits for the role. Sometime TAs use they’re own insensitive personal judgment at times not meaning ill thought, but it’s judged by pupils as a nasty inconsiderate comment. Positive comments and how to improve should be written in student’s exercise books as feedback refraining from using unpleasant thoughts you write for a student to read as feedback.
How do I manage my TA?
Teacher assistant and teacher work together and both require too teach positively as a team to have a good working relationship to deliver effective learning to pupils.
When a teacher & TA are assigned a class together the teacher should be open, friendly, helpful and approachable. Clear communication from the start between the TA and teacher is key ensuring you build a good relationship, pass on clear messages & instructions, classroom teaching practice and dealing with student feedback.
Good communication and working relationship helps avoid an unpleasant school TA that undermines a teacher in class or does something different to what you expected just because the TA has not been told about the lesson topic or how things are done in the teacher’s class.
TA pupil class interaction expectations
Teacher assistants in lessons are supportive to pupils and teachers, although the teacher should have control of the class & lesson at all times. A TA requires knowing how they’ll be used in a reading lesson for example, is pair or group work involved, so the TA can move around the class providing assistance to pupils. What a teacher should avoid is a TA that develops a poor work ethic and attitude as they don’t know they’re role in lessons which could lead to a TA becoming frustrated being left out and eventually uncooperative.
School TA decision making
Experienced class assistants use past working practice and knowledge helping them to make informed decisions, although inexperienced & dreadful TAs can make bad and inconsiderate decisions affecting a child’s learning and a teacher’s lesson.
Much of the decision making in class during lessons should be with the teacher ensuring no conflict of interest between TA and teacher. What should be avoided is where a bad teaching assistant undermines a teacher in class by contradicting instructions to pupils or deciding to ignore bad behaviour when the teacher has asked the teacher to deal with it.
Know TA limitations
Each person has strengths & limitations of subject knowledge, analytical skills, singing, dancing, and different levels of ability to multi task. Each teacher assistant that’s employed by the school has a job description that they’re expected to perform. Good TAs are compassionate & sensitive towards students, firm but fair, follow reasonable instructions and work well under pressure.
Asking a teacher assistant, especially one that’s inexperienced to complete extra duties regularly for absent staff can cause bad animosity. TAs can become uncooperative & refuse to complete some set tasks if they become overwhelmed by the extra work given or even back tempered towards teachers and pupils if they think they’re being taken advantage, or don’t now how to complete tasks.
How to deal with a difficult teaching assistant
Should a class teacher assistant become difficult to work with, unpleasant towards staff & pupils, and not good at the job you require informing school management or head of department. You should have done what you could by building a positive team working relationship between the teacher & TA, providing support, clear instructions, approachable and supportive.
Sometimes class assistants don’t suit the role of working with children or they bring personal problems to work that affects they’re performance where they become argumentative, opinionated, disrespectful, at this point it’s up to school management to deal with the TA.
How should a teaching assistant behave?
New to the role or experienced TA should arrive at school with an open and friendly mindset ready to:
- Cooperative with teachers and other employees ready to complete required duties & set tasks to the best of your ability.
- Team player that’s supportive to students, teachers and other TAs.
- Pupils should be supported in lessons and given assistance when and if required, basically give students space & time to complete set work or activities.
- TAs should ask for help when required.
- Keep you’re opinions and personal thoughts to yourself.
- Be knowledgeable enough in the subject and prepared to help answer & provide guidance when pupils require assistance answering teacher set class questions.
- Always be prepared for each class lesson or activity to support students and the teacher.
- Treat pupils as individuals by learning all names on the class register.
- Acknowledge that you can’t help everyone, get everything correct and there’s good & bad days.