Teacher Assistant: End of the School Year Tip that will Make Next Year Better

Get Ready for the Next School Year

Are you end-of-the-school year tired? I was too until I decided to delegate. Here is one end of the school year tip that will make the next school year better.

Now is the perfect time to get ready for next year to ensure a peaceful, successful experience for you and your high school students.  Which did NOT happen this year.

Every year around this time, I recruit teacher’s assistants.  I send letters home (so parents can see them) to my brightest, most diligent students listing and extolling their qualities and asking them to consider being my teacher’s assistant.  The letter is uplifting to the parents and the students.  And I get top-shelf help.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE LETTER: TEACHER ASSISTANT RECRUITMENT LETTER


End of the School Year Tip for Teachers that Will Make Next Year Better Teacher asleep at her desk.

Teachers’ Assistants can be life savers or keep-you-awake-all-night stressors.

This year, the first semester witnessed sleepless nights and hair-pulling days.  Since I retired last June I hadn’t planned on teaching and therefore I did not recruit.  As a result, the only helpers who came my way were those who signed up for an easy class, who exhibited consternation when I interrupted their eternal texting with a request, who didn’t follow instructions, and whose loud socializing destroyed the learning environment I had worked so hard to create.

This semester a few of my previous students signed up to help and the others had to move on (with a little gentle persuasion).  My new teacher assistants find my mistakes, remind me to do things, grade most of my tests and generally support me in a myriad of ways. Don’t be the first-semester me.  Be the second-semester me.  Use the end-of-the-school year to make next year better!

If you would like to see a copy of the letter I sent out, here it is: TA Recruitment Letter


Does your high school have a course description for teacher’s assistants? If not consider creating a course for students who need an elective. TA classes help the counselors fill schedules, help the students get the credits they need, and help teachers survive.

TASKS FOR TEACHER ASSISTANTS

Below is a list of possible tasks a teacher assistant could do for you:

  • Pass out papers
  • Erase the board
  • Hand out raffle tickets
  • Cut up interactive notebook activities
  • Correct homework (if that is allowed)
  • Add up participation points
  • Set up props or items for a game
  • Empty pencil sharpener
  • Clean my desk
  • Clean student desks

These are just a few suggestions. Any task that students can do that will save you time can be added to the list.

Click on the following link to get the guidelines and instructions I give my teacher assistants so you can get an idea of what tasks you can give them: Teacher Assistant Guidelines. Don’t laugh. As you can see, the guidelines are quite old. I kept “clean transparencies” on the list of tasks but I doubt many teachers use them anymore.

TEACHER ASSISTANT EVALUATION

Another mistake I made was not being clear about my expectations for an assistant. I didn’t use a rubric. The class of teacher’s assistant is like any other class: the student receives a grade for his or her performance. Therefore, he or she needs to know exactly what he or she is expected to do. To assume, as I did, that every student has the same work ethic or knowledge base is erroneous and I paid for that mistake.

I used a rubric which I can no longer find. However, here is a sample rubric to give you an idea of what you can include in your own teacher assistant evaluation. It is in PowerPoint form so you can modify it. Click on the following link to get it: Teacher Assistant Evaluation Rubric

DELEGATE, DELEGATE, DELEGATE

The only way teachers can keep their sanity is by delegating to others tasks they don’t really need to do. That’s often a new concept even though it is most logical. What necessary tasks can someone else do for you that will save you time? I would love a personal chef, but… I am settling on hiring someone to clean my house and do the yard work. Want more ideas? Find out more in this blog post: How to Do it All.

Another way to delegate is to let someone else create and grade your tests. Is that really a thing? Yes, it is! Check out this post: How Not to Correct Tests: You Won’t Believe How Easy It Is!

RESOURCES THAT SAVE YOU TIME

Something else you shouldn’t be: spending hours writing lesson plans for a sub when you are sick. Slap these on the desk and go home! Spanish One, Two, and Three Sub Plans

I hope you found a few strategies for making your teacher life easier. And I hope you get some awesome teacher’s assistants!

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