About Us

Betty Ashbaker

Hi I'm Betty Ashbaker, a passionate champion of paraeducators /teacher assistants and the issues surrounding their employment. I have long supported hiring, training, proper supervision, and effective evaluation of paraeducators. Whatever the name by which paraeducators are called, their role of teaching assistants in the classroom is vital.

I am an associate professor in counseling psychology and special education at Brigham Young University. I trained in elementary, special education, and administration. I have experience in as a special education teacher, a school district administrator, and a professor.

 

Jill Morgan

Hello. I'm Jill and I'm from Swansea in South Wales. I'm currently working as a lecturer at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (formerly Swansea Metropolitan University) where I run a Foundation Degree in Learning Support for Teaching Assistants working in local schools. But I started my career in education more than 30 years ago (how can it be that long!) as a primary school teacher.

In those days we had no teaching assistants in our classrooms; the only learning support was a Remedial Reading Teacher, who took children out of class for an hour or so every day. After a few years I moved to work in London and things were very different. Working as a supply (substitute) teacher, I went into a lot of different classrooms, and was stunned by the number of ladies who came into the classroom all day to take groups of children away (for cookery, recorders, help with reading - and who knows what else) or came to help me. And of course I didn't know what to do with them - no one had ever mentioned the possibility of having support staff when I trained to be a teacher. Fortunately I then went to Utah State University for a PhD and was handed over to Betty Ashbaker as her research assistant. She was running a project that was developing training materials for teaching assistants/paraeducators, and that was the start of our 20-year working relationship and friendship. And a fabulous education for me in what teachers and TAs can do to work more effectively together - and in the joys of collaborative work.

So this collaboration really is a natural progression from the work we've all been doing on different continents, but it's also a very exciting opportunity to share what we've all learned and make a difference to the children we all support.

 

Elizabeth Tatum

Hi! I'm from Queensland, Australia. I am currently a doctoral candidate at The University of Queensland. I was a teacher aide for eight years before the Deputy Principal managed to convince me that I needed to go to university to get some educational backing for all those great "teacher aide working with teacher" improvements I kept coming up with and enthusiastically presenting at our meetings. Working diligently I completed my Bachelor of Behavioural Studies Degree and a Degree in Education (first class honours).

I was amazed to discover there was very little research in relation to teacher aides here in Australia. I think this amazed others too for I received a number of awards and became the first person at The University of Queensland to receive a University Medal in Education. I am now able to do some research and try out some of those "great ideas ... suitably modified with an educational backing" that I longed to try out all those years ago.

I am terribly excited about the idea of contributing to the knowledge about teacher-teacher aide working relationships here in Australia and thrilled to be a part of the International Site for Teaching Assistants and Paraeducators. I look forward to contributing to this site and reading the contributions of others. Teacher aides have a lot to offer in the field of education ... let's show them what we can do!