I love having a teaching assistant because it allows me to have small group instruction every day. Generally, students can choose from a number of activities or assignments each day, depending on what is the most engaging to them. With an assistant, I can have two groups running at once and have another responsible person to help facilitate the group work. I never give my assistant administrative work, as I think she's much more valuable interacting with the kids.
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Give the assistant something to do that has meaning, purpose, and benefit.
I have a full time teacher assistant. She is able to do any paperwork I need done. At first you will spend time training that person on administrative tasks, but it's worth the time it saves you in the long run. My assistant also helps out in small group sessions in the classroom. She makes my copies, cuts/glues, and other tasks related to getting prepared for my lessons. It's a blessing to have someone to always lend a hand.
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