A Teaching Assessor – To be or not to be?
Many people who work in the teaching and educational profession may reach a point where we want to pass on our knowledge in a way that can help improve the learning environment for future generations of children. One of the ways we can achieve this career objective is by becoming a teaching assessor. However, although as William Shakespeare rightly observed, the first question to answer is whether ‘to be or not to be’ a teaching assessor, clearly to make an informed choice you need to ask additional questions: what does it means to be a teaching assessor and what skills, competences and knowledge are required to qualify for this position? So let us look at resolving these two added questions:
What does it mean to be a teaching assessor?
Perhaps we should start the answer to this question by identifying what being a teaching assessor does not mean. What it does not mean is that your task will be to check up on your teacher colleagues and student learners, and admonish them for any mistake they make or omissions in the teaching methods they are adopting. In other words, you will not be required to act like a teacher-learner ‘policeman or woman’.
Indeed, the role of a teaching assessor is distinctly positive in practice. It is a constructive evaluation role, which allows the assessor to use their practical expertise and their knowledge of the prevailing educational policies and practices to help others (teachers and learners) to achieve their teaching/learning outcomes, as well as assessing the extent to which they have achieved these objectives, by providing them with a pathway for future improvement.
In this respect, the role of the teaching assessor is not only to act as a mentor, but also multi-functional in that he/she will work with teachers and students throughout the learning process. The assessor is not only to develop training programmes and workshops that will ensure the teacher has an understanding of the current learning curricula and learning policies and processes. Additionally, he/she will also be required to visit the teacher/learner in the classroom or practical workplace environment (for older and vocational students), for the purpose of evaluating and assessing the extent to which the teacher/learner performances are reflecting the outcome of these programmes.
What qualities do you need to become a teaching assessor?
It is perhaps obvious from the previous discussion that in addition to having good people skills, which are required to ensure you are able to develop a positive relationship with the teachers/learners with whom you are engaging, the most critical quality needed if you choose to become a teaching assessor is experience. However, that experience needs to be appropriate to the practical environment in which your role as a teaching/learning assessor is being applied. For example, if your experience is in teaching in an educational environment, such as a school or higher education institution, it is highly unlikely that you will have the expertise to act as an assessor in a vocational and/or apprenticeship environment relevant to HGV learners.
The second most important quality needed is knowledge. Knowledge in this respect is related to your understanding of the outcome of the latest evidence-based research related to the teaching/learning assessment process in the environment where you will be working. Your knowledge in this context should also include an awareness of the latest legislation, regulations and guidelines that are applicable to your chosen teaching assessor role.
For example, if the assessor role applied for is located within a formal school educational environment, the knowledge you need will include a detailed understanding of the government’s latest curricula and the intended outcome of this policy in relation to ensuring that students are able to achieve their post-educational objectives, for example through university enrolment and graduation.
In contrast, however, if your role is related to being a teaching/learner assessor in the HGV driver environment then, in addition personal experience, you will need to have evidence-based knowledge related to the challenges of driving these vehicles. Additionally, you will need to be conversant with the current legal requirements in terms of hours of driving/working and the uses and abuses of the tachograph system. Without having acquired the relevant knowledge and expertise, it is apparent that you would be unable to fulfil the criterion to become a teacher/student assessor.
In conclusion, therefore, when considering a role as a teaching/learning assessor, you need to ask yourself the two questions. The first of these is what does it means to be an assessor, and the second is what qualities do you need to be considered for this role? Based on this observation, then you can reply to William Shakespeare’s comment by saying:
To be or not to be a ‘teaching assessor’ is not the only question to answer!