Activity buses pulled into the Sampson County government complex last Thursday, Nov. 29 and Friday, Nov. 30, not to transport students but teacher assistants.
Around 160 teacher assistants from Sampson County Schools came to participate in the K-12 Teacher Assistant Academy, the largest TA training event to be held in the county so far.
The two-day academy trained about 80 TAs per day and featured discussions about data, curriculum changes, professional roles, and evaluations.
“Our focus has been primarily on teachers in the past, but we’ve recognized that TAs need more training too. They also play vital roles in the classroom and with the kids,” says Susan Warren, PR and Student Services coordinator with Sampson County Schools.
Changes in the professional role of a TA is one of the aspects of the job that made more training necessary.
“The role of the TA has changed since my day. They are now working with small groups doing instruction,” says Jeana Moore, director of Elementary Education with Sampson County Schools. “We felt like we needed to bring the TAs in for training so that they and the teachers could start talking the same language.”
The TAs who participated in the training were very appreciative and many offered their own suggestions. “We’ve received good responses in the surveys we’ve done. Many TAs have asked for more training, especially technology training,” says Moore. “Teachers are already familiar with using smartboards in the classroom and accessing online curriculum guides, but the TAs need to be introduced to these things as well.”
The main goal, of course, is making the children’s education the best it can be. “We want the TAs to be able to have a dialogue with the teachers and everyone be on the same page,” says Moore. “We want them to be able to better work with the teachers, all for the benefit of the children.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 123 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.