Sascha Mowrey and Dale Farran studied and compared TA's in demanding environments. Their research, based on teachers and their assistants in 80 pre-k classrooms, was interpreted through the scope of "Tools of the Mind" curriculum. Mowrey and Farran conclude that the roles of TA's are universal in the education field, which problematizes several things in a classroom. This is an interesting read, because it points out that the role and job description of the TA are far too distant.
Carol Deane, a TA, shares her experience with a teacher she has been working with for three years. She shows how strong their relationship, mostly because they've learned each others nuances and have an open, honest bond. Deane says they are both open to talking about class outside of school hours, often chatting on the phone about their shared mission-- to have a superstar learning classroom. I like how refreshing and promising this account is!
Leadership coach Tanveer Naseer gives reasons why empathy in leadership matters. He clearly defines what empathy is, and explains why it's so important to have this quality. Naseer illustrates that empathy helps to validate co-workers, and functions as a means to open the lines of communication. This article is helpful for the head teacher with a developing TA, especially for the purpose of mentorship and performance improvement.
"The Secret Teacher" confesses to disliking her TA, and gives real examples of the breakdown of communications. The author tells of a time when she asks her class for silence, and the TA engages in discussion with a group of students. As critical as the author is, he/she comes to the defense of the TA's as a whole, citing there is not enough education or preparation for their roles in classrooms. I like how realistic and down to earth this post is, and how it presents a solution to the problem.
The Oxford School of Improvement created a "best practices" guidebook for TA's and head teachers. Page 14 of this PDF guide details how important communication is connected to the preparedness of your TA. It includes three mini-case studies outlining working in the classroom with the TA, as well as preparing feedback for him or her. I love the testimonial at the end of the page, where a head teacher cites how invaluable 15 minutes before class with a TA can be.
Brian Gatens writes this blog post with one thing in mind: convincing teachers that delegation is valuable. Gatens addresses why teachers sometimes have trouble handing off tasks, mostly due to personal reasons. The end of the post points out that delegation can be best utilized by giving tasks to colleagues (or TA's) based on their strengths. This is a great read for a teachers new to having TA's in their classrooms.
Danielle Egonu-Obanye shares her blog post on working with a TA in your classroom. She presents a realistic, but workable relationship that is most successful with a balance between guidance, respect, and mentoring. Egonu-Obanye also mentions how important it is to give constructive feedback to your TA, especially because they are following a career path that you have. I really enjoyed how this post highlighted the importance of very clear communication between both parties.
Ebony wants delivers this eHow video on the role of a TA in the Kindergarten classroom. She addresses how the TA mirrors and replicate the head teacher in some situations, and work one-on-one with struggling students in others. What I like best about this video is how it underlines the importance of the relationship between head teacher and TA, so that all students be successful.
Vanessa Levin puts together a fantastic handbook for your TA. It works as an information text, guide, and task book for your classroom. You can print the handbook for $4.00, but there is a link to a free preview on the page. I like the breakdown of information, especially for the interview process of a TA, which you may be involved in.