TA Induction: For TAs new to St John's
This module has been designed to support your induction process as a Teaching Assistant new to St John's.
The module contains a range of activities for you to engage with over the course of Term 1 with approximately 30 minutes of online learning each week.
Term 1 will include one face to face session and 6 online sessions
All the materials can be accessed here. Work through the activities at your own pace, but follow the chronological order presented.
The materials are the property of, and copyrighted by, Bowden Education and must not be reproduced.
Face to Face Session
This is introductory session will take place on 26th September 13.30 - 14.30 at St John's Primary School.
In this session we will:
Explain the aims of this module
Explain the weekly release time
Demonstrate and explain how to access the online learning materials
Learn how to set up a GoogleDrive to use as your online professional development portfolio.
Introduction to Online Materials
Welcome to this online induction module, which we hope will familiarise you with St John’s and the expectations of teaching assistants within the school.
Your headteacher has agreed to 30 minutes of development time each week in Term 1, during which you can complete the materials.
If you are unsure of any of the activities or have any questions about the module, do contact us - we are very happy to answer questions! Our email is email@example.com.
Each activity will be accompanied by a symbol which denotes whether you are expected to read/watch a video/access a website etc. Here are the symbols to look out for:
We hope you enjoy this module and find it useful!
Session 1: St John's Mission and Values
It is important as a practitioner (in any school), to be aware of the mission and the values of the setting, so that we are able to apply these values to our own practice and promote them with everyone associated with the school community.
St John’s mission and values are:
How do you see your role within this mission?
Download this PowerPoint.
Slide 2 has the ‘living’ values of St John’s and Slide 3 the ‘learning’ values.
Within each diagram, write an example (or more if you wish) of how you think you might promote these with your pupils. An example has been provided.
Upload the slides to your Google Drive Portfolio.
Session 2: General Expectations of a TA at St John's
We often find that, when we discuss with colleagues their working role, we are surprised by how different it might be to our own, even when the role has the same title!
When we share our experiences about the ‘duties’ performed each day, the expectations, the support provided etc. we become aware that every class/school will have a different approach (to pretty much everything!!).
This is the absolute joy of education - the diversity and the fact that everyday is different and interesting.
It is, however, also a major challenge, particularly when we are new to the role, and can sometimes lead us to wonder what is the ‘right’ approach in any given situation.
What is so important is to keep lines of communication open and, if in doubt, ask others! St John’s is a very supportive community and somebody will undoubtedly help you and give advice.
Often, once we start in a role, we no longer think about the original job description we would have read, before applying for a post.
It is useful, however, to return to this periodically, and remind yourself of your own responsibilities.
Revisit your job description now and consider these questions:
What were your expectations when applying for the role and has the job lived up to these?
What are your employer’s expectations of you?
What can you legally be asked to do?
Is there work you do beyond this?
What might be termed ‘going above and beyond’?
If you are not sure about the answer to any of these questions, chat to colleagues within the school to gain confirmation.
To be a successful and effective TA, it is important to be very aware of the school rules, in order to promote them within the classroom and other areas of the setting.
It is vital that we all adhere to the rules and are seen to uphold these in all situations and contexts.
Children of all ages thrive on routine and knowing expectations and it is our job to be role models, living the rules and requirements of St John’s, so that children feel safe and know that there is a consistent approach.
Which do you think is the most important school rule (no right answer here!)?
Why is this?
What does it mean to you and what might it look like in practice?
How might this school rule support a sense of community?
The Behaviour Policy and its intended impact
Another key aspect of the role of a TA is to support the teacher in promoting appropriate behaviour.
The starting point for this is the behaviour policy and it is vital that you are aware of what this entails.
This policy has recently been updated and you might want to compare it to the previous policy, to note any changes and discuss these with colleagues.
Have you seen any examples of the policy in action in either:
Whole class work
Small group work
Work with individuals?
It is vital that this behaviour policy is consistently applied. Continue to observe the policy in action and make notes on its impact on children’s behaviour and learning.
Session 3: Being Proactive in the Classroom
To get the most fulfilment from your role, it is important to feel that you are supporting the teacher and the children in an effective way.
We all want to do a good job and feel that we make a difference - to be part of a happy, successful team.
This can take time to achieve, so don’t worry if it all feels a little overwhelming at first.
Allow yourself time to become familiar with St John’s, the children, staff, parents and everyone involved with the school community.
One of the key elements of your role is understanding what is expected of you and developing a strong relationship with the teacher/s you work with. The following video - ‘The diverse role of the TA’ - shows TAs and teachers working together in different international schools and has short interview clips where they discuss their roles.
It is so important to hear the perspectives of others who do a similar job, as it allows us to feel part of a global community - all doing our best to support young learners. Watch the video below (it is only 11 minutes). Once you have watched it, make notes on the questions beneath the video.
Did anything surprise you about the roles of these TAs?
Did you notice any words that cropped up quite a lot?
What seemed to be the key messages?
For us, successful teamwork in the classroom is vital and here are words that we feel summarise this:
Flexibility - things often do not go to plan in classrooms - be prepared for this!
Diplomacy - developing strong relationships with children and adults takes time, patience and diplomacy
Cooperation - cooperating with others leads to strong teamwork
Communication - always keep lines of communication open, polite and honest
Collaboration - working effectively with others leads to a happy learning environment for all