The Teacher Assistant's role is to help the Lead Teacher get through the class as smooth as possible. That means primarily helping students when exercises are given. But it can also mean teaching some topics, coming with another perspective in class, keeping the main teacher focused on the learning goals.
Another important part is helping with reviewing homework.
Remember to talk to the Lead Teacher about how you should be assisting the class. Should you fx. help teach some topics, is it okay if you interrupt the Lead Teacher, etc.
Your responsibility is to help/assist the Lead Teacher so they are not overloaded with work.
In our classrooms we often have a wide range of ability and so it is essential that we mentor the students who are struggling so they don't fall behind.
Take the time not only to teach but also to motivate and connect with the student. Many of our students may never have met a programmer before and this can be a great opportunity for them to ask questions about your background and day-to-day life.
When interacting with students, try to gauge how they are doing in the lesson. Spot students who are doing well and those that are doing poorly. It is important you feed this back to our coordinators at the end of the day.
Giving feedback and assessing homework from the students is also an important job for you as a teaching assistant.
As a teaching assistant you are uniquely placed to give active feedback to your lead teacher. Never be afraid to ask the teacher to explain again if you think the students don't understand a topic or to offer extra clarification. Wherever possible, feedback to the teacher on how the students you're interacting with are doing.
Additionally, we encourage feedback on the lesson itself. We try to foster a community of growth and education for everyone at HackYourFuture - not just our students.
Unless you're 100% certain that whatever you're doing is outside of the students required understanding
Our students come from many different cultures, have many different levels of English, have different levels of computer literacy, have many different employment statuses
It can be easy to demotivate students using dismissive language (e.g. "c'mon", "it’s easy, just do this")
Everything takes time and they will get there in the end
Remember you are an expert.
Be aware of your blind spots when working with beginners
Ask don’t tell
As an assistant teacher, your job is not to understand what the student doesn’t understand but why they don’t understand it. You are in the lucky position of working closely with the students and so are uniquely placed to fix core misunderstandings in their mental models. The most important question in your arsenal is “What do you think the answer is?”.
Homework in mind
When mentoring a student you should always have the homework for the week in mind. You should be helping them to understand concepts well enough so that you can confidently say that they will be able to complete the homework to a sufficient level. If you don’t know the homework for the week, ask your Lead Teacher.