Going from teaching assistant to teacher

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by teacherperson, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. teacherperson

    teacherperson Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2017

    I just graduated college (elementary education) last May and I am now working as a TA in at an elementary school. I love my job, but my goal is to move up to being an actual teacher by the start of the next school year.A few questions:

    1. Should I mention this to the teacher who I am assisting? I don't want her to think that I'm unhappy as her TA. But I would think most people would be understanding of the fact that someone who graduated with a teaching license would want to be an actual teacher, right?

    2. What are some things I could do to stick out and show that I am not only a great TA, but more than capable of having my own classroom?

    3. Would being a TA at a school make me more likely to get hired by that school as an actual teacher?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 8, 2017

    The teacher with whom you work isn't in the position to hire you. Be careful to not over step. You have the education but not the experience.
    You can learn a lot by observing you assigned teacher. As you work together and form a strong working relationship, the teacher may be comfortable with you taking on more responsibilities in the room.
     
  4. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Oct 8, 2017

    I would definitely observe other teachers at work. Sit quietly at the back of the classroom. I would also ask your teacher if you can co-teach. That way he can see you in action and provide feedback.
     
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  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 8, 2017

    Great idea! But ease gently into the co teach thing. Maybe start by working on reinforcement activities with s few kids.
     
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  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Oct 8, 2017

    1) No harm in mentioning it. I think most teachers with a certified teacher IA are fully aware that the IA wants a teaching position, and knowing that you do indeed want to be a teacher, that can affect the role she gives you in the classroom. It's also likely that she would be aware of any teaching positions in the building, and could give you a heads up. She might also start drafting a letter of recommendation for you.

    2) TAKE INITIATIVE. I mean, obviously if your teacher tells you to do something, you should do it, but don't wait to be told to do something that needs to be done. This is tricky, because obviously you can't overstep your bounds, but as an example, if you're preparing a bulletin board while she's working with a guided reading group, if a kiddo raises their hand, drop everything and get to that kid's side. If you see that students are confused about your teacher's explanation of something and she doesn't catch on to it at first, tactfully find another way to explain it. Generate ideas of future lessons (Ms. Teacher, I loved your lesson today on multiplying two digit by two digit numbers. I have an idea for when we teach three digit by two digit multiplication, do you have a chance to look it over?). Volunteer to take over some of the stupid administrative tasks that your teacher absolutely doesn't want to deal with. Volunteer to sort notes from home and to stuff take-home folders. Take on the role of collecting field trip money, etc. Again, always ask before doing, but make the offer. If you know that your teacher is going to be out, volunteer to serve as the substitute teacher for the day, while the teacher's sub takes over for you, instead.

    3) Well... it depends entirely on the principal. Some principals love to hire from within, since they already know you. Other principals don't like to take somebody out of a position they know they are great at to put them in an unknown situation.
     
  7. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Oct 9, 2017

    I would try to avoid being a bother to anyone. Beyond that, follow your assigned duties and from there, seek out extra stuff you can do. Don't feel as if you can shirk responsibilities you feel are beneath you because you have a cert.
     
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  8. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Oct 10, 2017

    The answer to all of these is so dependent on the people involved and their personalities so I can only speak from my own perspective. In the classrooms I've taught that have had aides, I didn't feel I got to a good place with them until late winter. That's not to say we didn't get along, but I didn't feel we were comfortable enough with each other to discuss freely our personal feelings/vent/future plans etc. until that point. Personally I would expect a TA with certification to be planning for teaching soon, but if my aide told me this in the fall I might be turned off in the sense that I'm not going to put too much time and effort getting my aide to adjust to my teaching style if they're only planning to stick around for a year, which in turn could effect the tasks and freedoms I give my aide that you wouldn't want to jeopardize if you're trying to prove your abilities.

    In MA, I've watched the majority of aides who are looking for teaching positions get passed up for an outside hire because the principal doesn't want to forfeit a highly capable aide. They pretty much get all your education for half the price. This isn't true for all principals, but I think it's common enough. So my suggestion would be to wait before mentioning your intentions to anyone. Get very comfortable with your teacher then share with her first. Once she knows she can probably tell you when to share it with the principal. Regardless, when hiring time comes around apply both to your current school/district and out of district. Don't wait around for your current district to make you an offer because it may take much longer than you expect.
     
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  9. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Oct 14, 2017

    I was a TA for that first year after I graduated and became credentialed. I was open with my assigned teacher about how I was just trying to get my foot in the door and that I did not plan on remaining a paraprofessional. What I also did was to clearly communicate that I was committed to the position for that school year and that I wouldn't bolt for something "better".

    About five weeks into the year she proposed that I teach one of the math centers. She shared the standard she wanted addressed initially and gave me free rein over creating my own lesson plans. As the year went on she gave me more and more responsibility and independence. And the next year I was hired as a teacher in another district. The principal who hired me commented later that she had been impressed by my commitment to learning and growing as a teacher in a paraprofessional position.

    You can (and will) learn so much by working for a really good teacher.
     
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  10. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Companion

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    Oct 15, 2017

    Be open with your lead teacher about your goals, but don't be pushy about leading lessons, especially not at first. Hopefully you and your lead will be a good match and he or she will be happy to have you lead small groups and whole group lessons later in the year. I spent two years working as an assistant teacher after I graduated and it has made me a MUCH stronger teacher. I have a well-equipped toolbox from having the opportunity to work alongside experienced teachers for full school years.

    Edited to add: If there are any after school programs that you could get involved with or lead, think about those as a way to show the principal that you're serious about the school and the career. Also, they can be another way to gain experience with classroom management and relationship building with students.
     
    DressageLady likes this.
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Nov 14, 2017

    Do the best you can in the TA job. At the very least the teacher can be a future reference. When I was a TA the teacher I worked with knew I was certified because I was taking grad classes and she had asked some questions about what classes I was taking so it wasn't a big deal to talk about it.
     

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