During my 15 years as a teacher I have been blessed with being able to work with the most amazing teaching assistants. I know, as I’m sure you all do, that having a great teaching assistant working alongside you can make teaching and learning in the classroom so much better.
Someone once said that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ when talking about the successes of a school and I totally agree and believe this to be true on a daily basis in our classrooms.
Having that person working with you who knows your ways, who knows what you’re thinking, who gives a little smile when you make an awful joke, who knows what you want from the children and who seamlessly works alongside you in delivering the objectives for the day is so powerful. The skills of a teaching assistant should not be (and I’m sure we don’t) underestimated or downplayed.
It makes me sad when I see schools having no choice but to cut teaching assistant hours to be able to balance the books but this blog isn’t really about that. This blog is about celebrating the amazing teaching assistants out there who make our job easier and who do so much towards helping the learning of the children in our schools.
In my experience, where we have got the teamwork/dream work thing ‘just right’ the following things have always applied:
We know each other’s ways. It’s like we can read each other’s minds. A telepathy between teacher and teaching assistant goes a long way!
We support each other in everything we do in the classroom.
We have a trust in each other which means if one of us thinks something isn’t quite working we are able to tell each other.
We can ‘switch’ roles seamlessly. I.e sometimes I’ll helicopter the room and sometimes the Teaching Assistant will while I work with a small group.
We have the same expectations of the children. It’s ‘our’ class so it’s vital we have the same high expectations.
The children see both parties ‘as one’ and therefore have mutual respect for both. None of this: ‘if he/she says no, I’ll go and ask Mr/Miss/Mrs and see what they say’ business.
We take time to ‘chat’ and get to know each other, whether that be at breaktime, lunchtime or after school.
It’s knowing that either of us can be comfortable in asking those ‘could you just...’ ‘can I just quickly...’ questions to each other.
And most importantly...
We know how we each take our tea or coffee!
I cannot underestimate how much I appreciate the teaching assistants who I have worked with so far in my career as they have helped me become a better teacher and have impacted so much on the lives and learning of the 500+ children who I have taught up to now.
I think holiday time or at the start of a new term is a good time to appreciate those who you work with as once things get up and running again and the ‘to do’ list gets longer and everything is happening at a million miles an hour we sometimes find it harder to ‘take a moment’
So this is me ‘taking a moment’ to say ‘I appreciate you’ to all the amazing teaching assistants I have worked with so far.