I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful teaching assistant called Julie working with me. Since joining the school last year in May, Julie has worked really hard on acquiring the relevant subject knowledge in order to be able to assist the students effectively. Like me, she is a massive fan of Memrise which is a fantastic learning tool.
Within eight or nine weeks, Julie was able to lead the learning during certain periods of Year 7 lessons. Please bear in mind that she had never studied French before. (Thanks Memrise!)For me, it is important for the students to see that you don’t have to be “fluent” in order to use a language effectively. Also, Julie has such a wonderful presence when she is teaching from the front. Her ability to model language is done with real skill and humour. She always carries out the learning tasks with a wonderful big smile and an energy which creates a climate for learning to be effective. In my view, students learn best when the ambiance is relaxed and happy.
Now, she has complete control of half of the classroom and her questioning techniques are very good. Students automatically seek her out for guidance and feedback. In the students’ eyes (and mine) she is the teacher. Julie’s management of behavioural issues is first class and it has certainly influenced me. She is always positive and chivvies the students along. However, she is no mug and the pupils can’t pull the wool over her eyes.
Year 8 have recently just started a taster course in Spanish and Julie got stuck in straight away. She is not afraid of making mistakes and having a go and the students appreciate that. I know she has been working on improving her Spanish as well as her French which clearly demonstrates her excellent work ethic. She is also comfortable leading the teaching in more challenging classes and is able to engage them.
Without doubt, having a teaching assistant like Julie really does make an important difference to the students’ learning. Finally, it makes me a better teacher because I am able to focus more on individual students during the lesson.
I just wish that I could have her in all my classes!