We’re forever coming across new arguments as to why teaching assistant cuts need to be considered, especially when the words ‘education’ and ‘budget’ come into play. We’ve read them all, or well at least most of them, and quite frankly, we disagree. Teaching assistants play a key role in helping to educate students and regardless of skill or ability, everyone has the right to learn. Some are only able to do so with a little extra help, enthusiasm and patience from an individual other than their classroom teacher, so it’s inevitable that a well trained and talented TA would do the trick. Here’s (just a few of many) reasons why they are so invaluable to learning…
1. The one to one support
A teacher may find it difficult to manage the classroom activities on her own when she has many pupils under her care, especially if there are those who may need a little more help. Teaching assistants provide fantastic one to one support by assisting pupils who have questions, need encouragement or seek assistance to accomplish the tasks assigned.
2. That extra set of eyes
Eyes, hands, teaching assistants are there to offer an extra helping of whatever is needed. With a large amount of pupils in one class, a teacher would have to spend most of their time dealing with behavioural issues, disturbances, and general questions if they were a one man band. Assistance means extra encouragement, and sometimes this is all that a child needs.
3. Approachable and relatable
Let’s just get one thing clear; Teachers are great, caring, wonderful people but it is their duty to point out when a child is wrong, so this can make them a little harder to approach. Many students find themselves able to confide in the teaching assistant (which can only be a good thing?)
4. Behind the scenes
A Unison survey found that “Nearly 85 per cent of respondents said that TAs and teachers review the progress of pupils together; nearly 90 per cent engage in joint training and over 50 per cent prepare lessons and plan together.” As we all know the educational job path is no 9-3er, and yes this applies to TAs too. They plan, assess, monitor, encourage, tidy, create, network, and run around on a daily basis so their work is quite literally never done.
5. Long lasting impact
There is no doubt that by working closely with specific pupils and offering that extra support, children are bound to remember them. The work they do can have long-lasting effects that can influence the student’s life in positive ways into their future. Working out a tough sum for the first time, completing coursework or finally getting the result that they’ve always wanted may seem a small victory to many, but for those that just needed a little lift, it’s a positive push in the right direction.
With the increase in the number of teaching assistants comes an increase in the positive effects that they have on both children and teachers, so next time someone questions their role, remind them of the invaluable contributions that they make to every classroom.
Why do you think TAs are important? Tweet us your thoughts at @staffroomed.