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Parents as Teaching Assistants

Parents suddenly turned into temporary teaching assistants. What if we make that permanent?

Photo of Erik Mooij
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I am a.....

  • Parent/Caregiver

Tell us about your idea

Parents (such as myself) became involuntary Teaching Assistants overnight when schools closed. We had no preparation, no experience and, frankly, no clue as it came to teaching. 

Over time, we all managed in some way, and some of us even became quite good at it, through trial and error and thanks to some guidance from  schools, help from other parents and a lot of flexibility and patience  from our kids.

Now that schools are starting to reopen, what if we enable (or even expect?) parents to remain teaching assistants in some way? Maybe not all of them, but some.
I've learned how to drive to get a license, I've learned first aid to help people who are injured, why can't we help parents learn how to teach? Not career teaching, but volunteer teaching? So every school would have a whole group of remote teaching assistants?

Teaching is a very useful skill and can be an inspiring thing to do as well. If you can teach, you can help just about anyone become a little better at whatever they want to learn. And being able to teach can be learned.

There is a proverb that says: 'it takes a village to raise a child'. Imagine having a whole neighbourhood community being able to teach a child...

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Testing for the sake of measurement. We need testing to learn, not to compare.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I'm an instructional designer in higher education, an ad interim teaching assistant in primary education and a parent.

I've been curious about what has and what hasn't happened in K12 education in the last 20 years (when I finished high school) ever since my eldest child started going to school.

What region are you located in?

  • Europe

Where are you located?

I live in the beautiful city of Utrecht, one of the youngest cities in The Netherlands. We have a lot of great schools and it's a very friendly city to grow up in. But Utrecht, just as many other Dutch cities, lacks sufficient numbers of K-12 teachers for all kids. So both before and after COVID, we need radical alternatives for traditional classroom experiences to enable our children to keep learning.


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