Just got hired as a teacher assistant, how should I communicate with lead teacher?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by teacherperson, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. teacherperson

    teacherperson Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2017

    I want to email the lead teacher before the first day of school. I know I should ask her about the daily schedule and student roster, but is there anything else I should inquire about? Maybe if there are any students with special needs or are learning English as a new language? I really want to make a good impression, especially since I'm overqualified for the position anyway, as someone who actually is a certified teacher with a degree. Should I maybe have a good first day activity planned as well? I am also working on a letter to send home to parents introducing myself. What else am I forgetting?
     
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  3. pennyandme

    pennyandme Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2017

    First of all, congratulations! I was an assistant last year and I loved it. It was initially hard "letting go" so to speak since I too was a certified teacher, but you'll find that it's a really rewarding job...and you don't have to do lesson plans!

    In your email I would just introduce yourself, give your contact information, and really stress that you are excited, qualified (over qualified lol) and capable. Hopefully that will make the teacher feel more comfortable delegating more responsibility your way.

    Are you a teacher assistant in a Special Education or inclusion classroom? If so, it's probably safe to assume that all of your students are going to have special needs. That will all be in their IEP information that you will be able to access when you get started. It took forever for my lead teacher to share that info with me but I'd definitely inquire early so you know what you're dealing with.

    As far as planning a lesson the first day, I wouldn't unless the lead teacher asks you to. The lead teacher typically does all of the lesson planning and defers tasks to the assistant as necessary. A planned first day activity may throw the schedule off so definitely ask before you start planning too much.

    Basically, just go with the flow. Do you what the lead teacher asks of you and be there for the kids. As an assistant, other teachers will not know how overqualified you are or how good you are at your job...shake it off and be awesome!
     
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  4. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I 2nd what penny just said. Don't introduce yourself as a headache waiting to happen. Introduce, let her know your capabilities by sharing your credentials, and maybe include you're excited to help in any way you can.

    If you're with a good teacher you can expect to work with small groups in math, participate in guided reading with a certain group, etc. if you're with a bad teacher you'll be doing a lot of clerical and prep work. You will not be leading the class in anything. Your job is to meet the needs of the student's who's IEP requires your presence. You might even be out of the room more then you're there.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Aug 1, 2017

    You can email the teacher and briefly introduce yourself. You could mention your credentials, but be sure to do it in a way that indicates that you will use them to help at her direction. Apart from that, you need to take direction from the lead teacher. Don't overstep your bounds by planning a lesson and preparing a letter to the parents. I've never seen a teacher assistant send home their own individual letter to parents. I've always seen a lead teacher mention in a letter and open house the name and qualities of the teacher assistant.

    I'd be very wary if a teacher assistant started acting like a lead teacher from pre-day one. By asking all of those questions, you are indicating to her that you don't trust her ability to do her job properly, which would be to provide you the information you need to do your job successfully. By planning lessons or activities for the first day without her direction, you are indicating that you know better how the classroom should be run on the first day.

    I know that you mean all of this to be helpful, but your job is to assist in what she asks, not determine what needs to be done. Your relationship may grow into one where you are able to take more of a lead, but don't start it by doing things that could indicate you are already taking charge and taking over.

    Didn't you just get your certification and complete your degree? Congratulations. If this is so, I'd be very careful about your attitude about being over-qualified for the job. Sure, teacher assistants often aren't certified, but a newly credentialed teacher is green and much different than a teacher who has a few years in now going back to being an assistant for personal reasons.

    Ha ha ha. I should have read the other responses.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
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  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 1, 2017

    Tread lightly. A simple email along the lines of "I'm so excited to be working with you this year. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help out during these remaining summer days!"

    Sending a note to parents and making plans for the first day are over/stepping, IMO.

    Please don't go in feeling over qualified. I'm sure you're more than capable. That said, so is the classroom teacher. As a peer coach with twenty years experience, I can tell you there's not s time when I've gone into a new teacher's classroom that I didn't learn something new or pick up a new strategy. Take the teacher's lead.
     
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  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Be very careful labeling the teacher with whom you are working as 'good' or 'bad'.
     
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  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    oops. Deleted response meant for different thread. Lol
     
  9. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    You know what I mean. I realize good and bad is relative, but a micro manager looking for a personal assistant would be a bad placement for any TA.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Would it? Doesn't that depend on the attitude of the TA. If making copies helps the teacher address the needs of the students, then copies it is. It might allow the teacher to provide different materials than she would have had she had to do the copying herself. Part of the title of the job is assistant. If the TA focuses on the teacher part of the title as the only role, the TA will be very unhappy.
     
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  11. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    In the districts I have worked in, TA is a position which only exists due to a student/students IEP. If they are doing other work, they are not providing the student support required in the IEP. During preps for example, the ta travels with the student. Outside of a lunch for the TA, they're supposed to be with students all day. The only exception is usually kinder/pre k where if they want extra bodies in a class, they usually have a number that if they cross, the bring a second adult into the room.
     
  12. pennyandme

    pennyandme Rookie

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    I had a particularly difficult girl last year in a behavior support classroom. Much my time was dedicated to following her wherever she went and providing support for her tantrums. My lead teacher would get so frustrated and say "You're MY assistant, not hers!" She would also ask me to spend my lunch hour chasing down students for her and running to grab HER lunch.

    So there are definitely some teachers think you are their personal assistant. Don't make any plans or take any leadership until you figure out what the relationship will be like.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Our district has ta for various reasons, not just ieps
     
  14. OneBerry

    OneBerry Comrade

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    Aug 7, 2017

    Congratulations on your new job! I just wanted to say that I'm in a similar position and can relate... it's really difficult figuring out how to take the passenger's seat when you are used to driving!!
     
  15. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Aug 9, 2017

    I would make sure to never say those words out loud.
     
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