Yes, all of these come from experience and I’ve addressed them in all kinds of creative ways. If you see yourself in any of these, I have one suggestion to help you become a great teaching assistant:


I want to be positive but I have my pet peeves and often they involve the teachers assisting in my Kids Yoga classes. I’ve vented with a friend, who is also an experienced daycare manager, and she rolled her eyes and said – “Hello, this is childcare 101.” Which is strange because most of these teachers would have graduated from childcare 101.

Let’s consider this a refresher course. When it comes to using or being a teaching assistant, we can use my experience to know what NOT to do. If this is you – consider yourself on notice!

5 Ways to Be a Terrible Teaching Assistant:

  1. Draw Attention to the Behaviour You Don’t Want: When someone is not co-operating, yell their name very loudly across the circle over and over again until everyone hears you and looks at you, except the named child, who is ignoring you.
  2. Model Apathy: Consider it unnecessary to get involved, whether it’s to participate in the yoga that we’re all doing or to stand up from your chair to walk over to help a child who has lost focus. Instead, wait and see what the yoga teacher will do about it. 
  3. Put the Children’s Programming Second to What You’ve Got to Get Done: While the class is on, hold a planning discussion in the corner of the room with the other teachers or return your phone calls – be unaffected by the soft relaxation music that is playing while you talk. 
  4. Let Others Worry About Cleanliness: Change half the kids diapers without ever washing your hands between changes or after you are finished. Then come and hug everyone. (Guess how often everyone is sick in this room!) Oh, and be sure to ignore the snot hanging from the kids’ noses.
  5. Over-Participate: Get so excited doing the yoga that you ignore the kids, ask the other (Assistant) teacher to help you try a handstand! Then forget there are little kids around and land on them as you come out of the pose.

As a special gift:

Bonus Way to be a Terrible Teacher Assistant: Answer the questions the yoga teacher is asking the kids, and be sure to do it fast, so the kids don’t have a chance to formulate their own answers.

Do you have anything to add to the list?

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*Yoga Alliance’s Online Training Provision allows for both self-paced (watching recorded training) and/or Live Zoom Training. You can choose a combination of these that works for you.

You’ll be glad you did it!

  1. Thanks for the comment Debbie. That weight one is so common also among mothers – body image issues are passed on to kids without even realizing it!

    Sometimes I just choose to address the concerns at the beginning of the class as a general topic without saying that anyone in the group is doing it.

    There’s a great story in Ancient Secrets of Success for Today’s World by Tulshi Sen that I use called The Wish Fulfilling Tree that has the message – be careful what you are thinking because we are creating with our thoughts.

    The kids and teachers really connect with this story.

    Good luck!

    – Aruna

  2. Hi Aruna!

    I taught at a preschool yesterday; two groups of about 18 little ones. The “assistants” in the second group often say things, I cringe at internally. Here are three from yesterday:

    1) Raising your voice to tell a child “you HAVE to do the yoga pose” and “do it RIGHT”.
    2) While doing the yoga, talk about how “out of shape you are”, “how fat you are” and “how you need to lose weight”.
    3) This one is similar to your bonus: prompting the kids with clues to the answer to questions.

    These are sticky issues to address with the teaching assistants. I just completed the 4 class series with the preschool and have been invited back for next year and this summer. I’ll have to think of a way to address these with the director. #1 will be much easier to address than #2!

  3. Thanks for the tag Reluctant Runner – I’ve started narrowing down my addictions to just five! Will let you know soon.

  4. I like these tips! I have been an “assistant teacher” when you’ve taught yoga to your nieces and nephews at our house and I REALLY hope I haven’t done any of these …

    By the way, I “tagged” you at my blog. Stop by and check it out.