Professional relationships: TAs

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By Eileen Joneseducational journalist, author and literacy specialist

TAs are a classroom treasure – so communicate, cooperate and collaborate

Working with  your TAs

Work closely with your TA to strengthen your relationship

Statistics are easily condemned as boring, but these figures are exciting: in 1997* there were 24,000 teaching assistants in England’s nursery and primary schools; in 2007 there were 77,000. This rapid expansion probably means that a TA is assigned to you and your class for some time every week. A dream for teachers of the last generation! So you have a responsibility not to squander this bonus. By working together, you and your TA can and should improve children’s school experience. The key is a successful relationship and the C code (below) is a good place to start.

Communication

Get to know your TA. Chat over coffee at break; learn about their interests, and ask about their strengths and concerns in the role. Describe your teaching style, your academic targets and your expectations of children’s behaviour. Decide together the activities they will be comfortable with. Agree a timetable and make sure that your TA understands their involvement.

In 1997* there were 24,000 teaching assistants in England’s nursery and primary schools; in 2007 there were 77,000

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