Teaching assistants: The unsung heroes of the classroom
Teaching assistants work alongside teachers in a range of supporting roles, so are often described as the unsung heroes of the classroom.
Here at Calderdale College, we offer a range of courses to support teaching assistants at different stages of this very rewarding career. If this is a profession you are considering going into, here are some things you might like to know…
What kind of qualities do teaching assistants need?
Teaching assistants need certain qualities to be good at the role. They need to be friendly, approachable and patient, and confident working in a team.
What does the role involve?
A main part of their role is to assist the teacher. This could be anything from setting the classrooms up for the day ahead, collating supplies for lessons, marking students’ homework and doing administrative tasks to keep the classroom running and free up the teacher’s time.
They are there as much to support the students as they are the teacher. They must ensure young people receive a full and rewarding education. Often, they will lead extra support sessions for students who need to expand their reading, writing or mathematics skills. This is sometimes done in a group or individually.
Pupils with additional needs will often have a specific teaching assistant assigned to them for either all or part of their learning schedule. Their support to these students can often play a big role in decreasing anxieties and making a difference to the impact of their education.
Pupils with English as a second language often need additional support accessing the curriculum, particularly at first. It is quite common in schools with a high intake of students speaking English as their second language for teaching assistants that can speak more than one language, to help pupils to understand their lessons and to overcome any social or cultural divide.
Why are teaching assistants known as unsung heroes?
During the pandemic, teachers were busy delivering online classes so assistants were called upon to deliver classes to vulnerable and key worker children who needed to be in school. Researchers at UCL Institute for Education found nearly 88% of teaching assistants stepped up, with 51% of those managing a whole class or bubble alone, * establishing themselves as ‘unsung heroes.’
Do you see a future being a Teaching Assistant or would you like to build on your existing skills? Find out more here and start your career today!
*Statistic featured in UCL IOE International Literacy Centre research on teaching assistants during the pandemic. To view, click here.