Top tips for new TAs, from experienced TAs

We asked our teaching assistants what advice they would give to those who are new to the profession and this is what they had to say:

“Ask for help, ask for direction. Keep dialogue open! You need to ask what the student wants, what the SENCo advises, what does the teacher need you to do? You are a facilitator, so find out what you need to do to facilitate! Be confident, and have fun; education can be really tough but keep going because it is so, so worth it. Being a TA is not menial, you are not ‘just’ a TA, you are a valuable member of the team who is essential in the effective management of a school. Keep going! Get stuck in and make sure to have fun.”


“Ask questions! Lots and lots of questions!”


london team TA pic

“Listen, watch and get stuck in. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Talk to the children.”


“Work on your patience and ability to negotiate things with pupils.”


“PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING! And being able to work as team and to take any form of advice without being offended”


“Speak to the classroom teacher so you clearly understand what is expected of you. Speak to the SENCO so you can gain a better understanding of the students you support and what strategies work best for them. Ask questions. Other TAs are usually great for giving advice. Always keep your sense of humour, with the kids and staff.”


“Focus on the big picture. Every child is entitled to an education and they need to be respected. Whatever is asked of you within reason just do. Your student is vulnerable and they need you and so does the organisation.”


anna phillips my journey as a TA

Anna – one of our star TAs with her son, Oscar. Read all about how she became a TA here in her guest blog for Axcis.

“1. Be early to school 2. Be helpful, strong, calm, smiley, energetic, enthusiastic. 3. Follow the methods already used in the classroom 4. Anything you don’t like or feel uncomfortable, say it 5. Leave on time to relax and be prepared for the next day”


“1 -Stay focused! 2- Definitely be ready to work with children with different personalities as well as children with special needs”


“Go in there with a positive mindset, look for jobs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, in terms of dealing with behaviours think about how you would want to be spoken to and address things in a calm manner.”


“Pay attention to every pupil in your classroom to see how different they are to each other and how to deal with situations, be hardworking, remember you can have a big impact in the classroom to help reduce stress etc but most of all enjoy yourself because it is a very rewarding job.”


“Be patient and prepare to learn from the other teachers around you.”


“Listen to the child. Be yourself. Be friendly. Be proactive. And have a passion to help out.”


“Get to know the student(s) first – their interests. Create good professional relationships and be trustworthy. When a student asks something make sure to listen to them carefully with good eye contact – get down to their level showing that what he / she is saying is very important. If you are telling the student that you will come and see them later make sure you do so because the student will built trust with you. Never promise to keep a secret, as they may tell you something you have a duty to pass on. Reassure the student that he or she is doing a good thing telling you and that you are going to help by telling someone who can help them.”


“Try to help the young people enjoy school and use the challenges you faced to try to help them overcome difficulties, e.g. If you found maths hard, and they are too – maybe try using more visual and kinaesthetic methods to support them. Also do research and be reflective. We are lucky to work with these young people and can make a difference to them.”


“Just really involve yourself with the school you are working for, the people you are working with and especially the children. If they can see you are not bothering to really get to know them then they are not going to want to listen to anything you have to say. Be willing to play with them, teach them but also be able to tell them off when they are in the wrong because otherwise it won’t work. But most of all enjoy it because being the person that is helping them learn and grow up is amazing and you are lucky to do it.”


“Follow the directions of the teacher and take time to get to know the children you work with.”


“A TA should be ready to assist at all times. Be open minded, punctual and try to join in with all activities and school trips.”


“Don’t do it if you don’t like working with children or young adults. Relax when you’re not at work!”

midlands team TA pic

“Work with confidence following instructions and asking questions.”


“Embrace it, enjoy it, and learn from the staff.”


“When working with children and some have challenging behaviour don’t take it personally if they swear or insult you and remember that are still children no matter what their age – and you’re the adult!”

Not sure if TA work is for you? Take our quiz!

If you’re not sure whether you would be suited to working as a teaching assistant, why not take our quiz? It only takes a few minutes, so why not give it a try?

Or check out our jobs pages for TA vacancies

Or if you’re seeking a job as a teaching assistant, why not register with Axcis or check out our jobs pages? We also run a generous refer-a-friend scheme, so if you want to earn up to £250 in shopping vouchers just for helping a friend to find work, why not get in touch with their details today?


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