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Learner Spotlight – Teaching and Learning, June 2021

In June, we caught up with Saleh Sheriff, who was coming to the end of his Supporting Teaching and Learning Level 3 Diploma.

Saleh has been a learner at WAES since 2018, having previously completed the Level 1 and Level 2 course. Alongside his studies, he works part time as a Teaching Assistant at a Westminster school to gain on the job experience.

Being the only male on his course for the past two years, Saleh told us about his experience working as a man in a female-dominated industry.

Hi Saleh! Why did you apply for this particular course at WAES?

Due to my really strong passion for teaching and educating children and young people, I wanted to work in a school. I was working in retail – I was an experienced supervisor in retail but I wanted to change into teaching and supporting children, which is why I did that move.

I’ve gained lots of other diplomas and certificates whilst at WAES. I finished and gained GCSE Maths Higher Level, and Level 2 Functional Skills English, alongside the certificate for the Teaching Assistant.

What do you study on the Teaching Assistant course?

The whole course is very interesting to me, and I enjoy every session. I have learnt how to establish professional and productive relationships with children and young people. Similarly, I learnt effective ways and strategies in how to respond to children’s individual needs and contribute to their development. I’ve learnt how to promote the inclusion and acceptance of all children, for instance by encouraging them to interact with each other in the learning environment. Every day we learn something new.

How would you describe your tutors at WAES?

Up until now I have experienced working with two tutors, and they are amazing – Tracey and Sukhdeep. They are very dedicated, very helpful and very patient. They look forward to helping you in the right direction and whenever you need anything from them, they’re there for you, through Teams and on calls as well.

What do you aim to do when you have finished your course?

After successfully completing the Level 3 Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning, I will be qualified to work as a Teaching Assistant in any school and college. That’s what I’m aiming for, to work full-time in a school or a college. I do some paid work now but I need a full time job. This diploma enables me to do that.

If you had any advice for someone thinking of studying to be a Teaching Assistant at WAES, what would you say?

Some people think it is a job for females, not for men, and I wanted to change that and say,
“hey, if you’re talented and you have those skills, you can be talented as well, like these talented female colleagues.”

As I am a male studying to be a Teaching Assistant, I would never allow anyone to put me down. If you feel you are talented and you do have something to provide the children and young people, and motivate them at the same time, why not go into that direction and be as qualified and talented as the other female teaching assistants.

I would advise and encourage every male that really wants to study a Teaching Assistant course, and is able, committed and motivated to do that, don’t miss out on the chance! Go grab it, and come to WAES!