Teacher aides keeping ahead of the pack
THEIR students may have enjoyed a pupil free day but it was back to the classroom yesterday for 141 primary school teacher aides from 14 schools in the Gladstone Region.
Yaralla Sports Club hosted two professional development days with one run by Clinton State School and the other by Catholic Education.
Clinton State School early childhood teacher aide Karen Pope, who has been at the school for 33 years, said its day covered a number of timely topics including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) and how to help vulnerable students.
"This year we are getting professional development on trauma because a lot more of our students are having some form or trauma in their life, so for us it's about helping them deal with that during the school day and their normal life," Ms Pope said.
"We also had training in digital technologies because that's the way it's going, with STEM being a very important part in learning nowadays.
"Lots of us have been in school for a long time so we aren't as developed in that field so this is our chance to learn something that we can then teach the kids. It's all new and exciting. We need to be on board first up - so that we can pass that knowledge on to the students."
Ms Pope said the role of a teacher aide is as important now as it was when she started more than three decades ago.
"They are pivotal, not just for our students, but also to our teachers because it's a team effort," she said.
"We need to be there supporting kids in their development - they often won't remember your name but they'll remember how you made them feel."
Ms Pope added that the majority of teacher aides were female and the education industry as a whole could benefit from a boost in male teachers.
"Students need that male role model and interaction because some students don't always get that at home," she said.