THR 3520 Instructional Assistance

Junior and Senior Theatre majors may earn an hour of credit by helping to teach those beginning courses that they have already completed.

Instructional Assistant Information - Appalachian State University Theatre & Dance (Approved 12.04.08)

  • To be an instructional assistant (IA) you must hold a junior or senior standing.
  • IA's should never be left alone with the class, or perceived as the instructor of record.
  • IA's cannot have access to student work or information without student legal consent. This legal consent form can be drawn up by the university attorney if you wish.
  • IA's must complete an "Instructional assistantship" form in the main office and register for the IA class—not the class in which they're assisting.
  • The IA contract must allow some completely independent practice teaching and be a phased process.
  • IA and the instructor of record should communicate with the IA coordinator regularly (e.g. monthly). The IA coordinator will act as a third-party for communication or conflict resolution.
  • A closure/reflection/assessment should be completed by both the IA and the instructor of record for a grade of pass or fail.

Responsibilities of Instructional Assistants

  • Report to class as scheduled and be punctual.
  • Attend the full class corresponding to that of the cooperating teacher's. This may include responsibilities before or after class.
  • Place teaching duties ahead of personal concerns/activities.
  • Exemplify the positive attitudes and actions of a professional teacher rather than those of a student.
  • Submit written plans to the host teacher well in advance of the assigned teaching time(s).
  • Safeguard all personal and confidential information about yourself and about the students in the course.
  • Be discreet in all communication regarding the host teacher, the class, and the students.
  • Dress and act professionally.
  • Inform the Instructional Assistance coordinator immediately when serious problems occur.

Sample schedule based on a 15-week semester

First few weeks

  1. Observe the host teacher. Learn the names of the students and become acquainted with materials, equipment, etc.
  2. Begin to assume light duties such as helping individual students, making announcements, teaching parts of lessons, leading small group discussions, etc. Emphasis should be on instructional rather than clerical duties, with a team teaching and planning focus.
  3. Prepare for teaching the first class. Start team teaching and cooperative lesson planning for at least one period/class.

Middle Weeks

  1. Continue to add teaching responsibilities until a full load is reached (a full load for an IA should approximate that of the host teacher—teaching an entire week (2-3 class meetings) or a unit of teaching).
  2. In every situation, time should be scheduled for planning and reflection.

Final Few Weeks

  • Drop responsibilities in an order which makes a smooth transition back to the host teacher by the end of the course.

Personal qualifications of host teacher

  • Expressed desire to work with instructional assistants
  • Acceptance of instructional assistances as team members/co-workers
  • Understanding of the possible problems of beginning teachers
  • Constructive/effective classroom management
  • Willingness to assume school responsibilities beyond teaching
  • Honesty and tactfulness in supervision

Teach/Coach/Reflect Process

The role of the host teacher is to TEACH the instructional assistant how to teach, COACH them so that his/her skills can be developed in a supportive, mentored environment and provide opportunities for the instructional assistant to REFLECT on the many aspects of the teaching and learning process.

By encouraging the instructional assistant to analyze his/her own progress and identify problems and possible
solutions, the student's transfer into the role of the decision maker in his/her own classroom will be easier.

Expectations of the host teacher

  • Give the instructional assistant a schedule of the phased responsibilities.
  • Provide access to curriculum guides. Explain and model how these guides are to be used.
  • Explain policy, management, etc. Support the instructional assistant in such matters.
  • Discuss how to formulate long-range goals and plans for an entire semester.
  • Include the I.A. in your plans for the next day.
  • Share written lesson plans and provide the instructional assistant with a sample format.
  • Share resources for the instructional assistant to incorporate in planning for instruction.
  • Share ideas for integrating subject matter.
  • Encourage the instructional assistant to keep a plan book/notebook in which to organize ideas, plans, and other information that will be a useful resource in the future.
  • Model lessons before the instructional assistant is to take over. Provide an opportunity to reflect on the lessons.
  • Help the instructional assistant develop plans that he or she will teach.
  • Review and critique the instructional assistance's lesson plans.
  • Plan cooperatively, but also require the instructional assistant to develop plans independently.
  • Inform the I.A coordinator immediately when serious or chronic problems occur.


There is a need for frequent conferences with the instructional assistant for a successful mentoring experience.
A conference is a forum for both the host teacher and the instructional assistant to voice concerns, ask questions, and give feedback. These conferences can promote dialog and provide structure for planning. The host teacher sets the tone for the conference by deciding on the content, setting the procedure, and establishing both rapport and open communication. These conferences should receive high priority in thought and timing.