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How to Become A Teaching Assistant? A Beginners’ Guide

Are you looking for a job in the field of Education but don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you need to move from a full-time job to one that gives you more flexibility due to studies or family obligations? If you like being in the company of children and think that you have what it takes to build the next young generation with sound principles and morale, then a job as a teaching assistant is the right career path for you. But do you know how to become a teaching assistant?

Well, in this blog we will cover everything you need to know about how to become a teaching assistant.

What is a Teaching Assistant?

Teaching assistants are also known as TAs. They assist trained school teachers in the classroom. A TA may serve in secondary or primary schools throughout the United Kingdom. Within certain schools, they are sometimes referred to as “learning support assistants” or “classroom assistants.” Let’s find out more about how to become a teaching assistant with no experience.

Why should you become a Teaching Assistant?

Two teachers assisting students in a classroom

Before learning how to become a teaching assistant, be absolutely sure about the career path. It is essential to have a career that is both satisfying and rewarding. Consider being a teaching assistant if you want to work in an enjoyable environment. A teaching assistant position can be one of the most fulfilling jobs available.

Although the work climate is often stressful due to pressure from parents and colleagues. As the school year progresses, you will become a part of a student’s life. You will watch them learn and develop. You can be a role model to thousands of students in your lifetime in the teaching profession.

11 Reasons You Should become a Teaching Assistant

Have you ever noticed how a child’s behaviour is seriously affected by the environment he or she is brought up in? Before we talk about how to become a teaching assistant, ask yourself  the following:

  • Do you have what it takes to be a role model?
  • Is teaching your true calling?
  • Do you enjoy being around kids?

If you answered yes to all of it, then read on to further convince yourself to become a TA.  You need to be on your best behaviour. Because kids tend to pick up on the behaviour, they are exposed to at the early age.

1. Sense of Peace & Comfort 

One of the most rewarding aspects of working as a teaching assistant is illustrating new concepts to children. A thoughtful teacher’s assistant plays a unique role. They provide extra assistance to students to not fall behind their peers.

You may have an interest in arts and crafts. If you work as a teaching assistant, such abilities are advantageous. Even your favourite sport or hobby might be compensated and incorporated into this career.

2. Be a Child’s Rock

happy teaching assistant with young students

As an assistant, you will often end up helping children who struggle to read and write. Assisting them in overcoming this learning imposition will give them a sense of achievement.  The children will be grateful to you. 

Helping children to overcome the hurdles will be rewarding for you as well. The children will also look up to you and confide in you with their problems. You can help them feel better while getting some cute little funny playmates in the classroom.

3. It Opens Up Many Doors 

teacher quote

You could switch up your position and tag line after gaining experience for a few years as a teaching assistant. You could climb up the ladder in the education industry. Furthermore, you can become a primary school teacher or a secondary school teacher.  Work with children with special needs if that moves you. You could even take a few certification courses and specialize in specific subjects to teach at school.

The world can become your oyster once you gain enough experience and skills in this profession. You can become a full time qualified teacher with enough experience and knowledge up your sleeves. You may also specialize in literacy, numeracy, or special education with more experience. If you are bilingual, you could specialize in dealing with children whose first language is not English. If the teaching profession is your true calling, then hurry up now.

4. Become an SEN Teacher

A kid wearing headphones for studying

There is a push to include students with special educational needs and disabilities in conventional schools. TAs have become increasingly important in assisting classroom teachers with a wide variety of student needs. SEN or Special Education Needs Teaching Assistant is one of the most in-demand professions in the UK. More than 1.2 million children in our schools have special education needs. For instance, autistic students, students with hearing problems, students with speech and language needs. Besides, students with other disabilities are among them who might need special education.

As an SEN teaching assistant, you will support and guide the children in leading a happy and independent life. Children with SEND have their unique way of assessing the learning modules. Their determination might sometimes challenge your expectations and be an eye-opening moment for you. 

You might have to train in unique communication methods such as British Sign Language or Makaton to assist students with learning difficulties. Remember, the more training you have beneath your hat, the higher goes your salary!

Additionally, you can enrol in some classes to better understand the needs of students with disabilities or disorders. For instance, knowledge of sensory impairments or autism will help you embark upon your journey. You can get pointers about how to become a teaching assistant in the class too.

Level 3 Teaching Assistant Course with Specific Focus on Supporting SEN Students

5. Every Day is Different

Students wearing protective masks in classroom

A day in your life as a teaching assistant will be very different from the previous one. Not a day will be monotonous. You may realise that while teaching the kids, your horizon of knowledge expands as well. There is always a thing or two the tiny humans will end up teaching you. They can have a  strong impact on your life. TA’s spends more time and have more informal interactions with the students resulting in a stronger bond. This bond can prove beneficial for the classroom. 

Your day will always be full of new surprises and challenges, which you’ll overcome together with the kids. Do you get bored easily and always look out for something new and adventurous? Then, you are on the right path as the word boredom is not present in this profession’s dictionary.

6. Time Management

Time management concept

Do you have a hard time keeping track of time? Do you struggle to finish assigned tasks in time due to procrastination or an unarranged daily schedule? Then a job as a TA could help nudge you on the right track!

A teaching assistant’s life is disciplined and timely. It makes you obligated to properly balance your work life and personal life for maximum efficiency and outcome. A TA’s tasks require immediate action. So, you can’t just postpone assignments and pile up work. Hence, you will be effectively making use of time in this job.

7. Doing Your Part for the Society

A female teaching assistant observing two young students helping each other study

As a TA, you are essentially contributing back to society through teaching. Remember the fact that someone took the time to teach you at some point. You have the potential now to do the same for future generations. This is a general argument that extends to all teaching responsibilities. It includes assistantships or full-time teaching. Teachers are the lynchpin that holds society together.

As a TA, you can instil good values into the children. You can make them responsible human beings of society. Additionally, substantial input from the students assists as a powerful reinforcement for a TA. You can reflect upon the feedback for your personal and professional growth and harness new skills. As a teaching assistant, you play an essential role in bringing celebrations to life. You bring the whole student community together in a meaningful way.

8. Stage Fright Vanishes

A woman giving a speech

Are you shy to speak in front of the public? Does panic start to take over your body while trying to do so? Then a job as a teaching assistant could help you with that! One of the most underappreciated aspects of becoming a TA is learning how to communicate. You have to learn how to communicate and teach. It will help you to learn how to become a teaching assistant. 

By communicating, we don’t just mean developing your speaking fluency. We also suggest how to interact with students. Being a TA could be a test drive for you to work on your stage fright & public speaking skills.  Teaching abilities are valuable. It will come in handy if you want to later work in higher academia. You can put the skills to use in a position where you must clarify concepts to others.

9. Flexible Working Hours

A female teaching assistant checking exam paper

Flexible working hour is one of the reasons why people want to know how to become a teaching assistant. The school hours in the UK for teachers typically range from 19-30 hours per week. It varies depending on the level of class you are teaching.

Besides, a typical school year consists of around 180-200 days if we do not consider the holidays. This means you have plenty of time to cool off! You can even take an extended holiday with your loved ones during summer break. 

Additionally, you can work as a part-time teaching assistant in a daycare or elementary school. It will help if you are looking for experience. Part-time jobs are convenient if you have too much on your plate to commit to complete-time work. 

However, you might have additional responsibilities to tend to. You might have to take your work home with you during the term. You might have to stay after school hours on some weekdays to assist students in club activities. Such as for breakfast club, science club, music club etc.

Furthermore, you’ll have to invest time during any special school events. Regardless, some employer offers contractual work where you might be laid off the additional responsibilities outside the classroom.

10. Improve the Quality of Education

Students raising their hands in a classroom

As a TA, you might have to take charge of the classroom in the headteacher’s absence. And that is your cue to shine! You can improve the pedagogy as per the needs of the group of students you work with. You can introduce new techniques or learning strategies to bring out the absolute best from your students. Besides, you can enrich the quality of the education system.

11. Impactful Profession

A teacher in a classroom

Why do you want to be a teaching assistant? The standard answer is that a real difference can be made in children’s lives through this profession. While the answer may sound generic, it is a pretty solid statement! Do you believe in the cause of equal access to educational opportunities for all kids? Despite their economic and social background, Then a job as a TA is right for you!

There are children in many schools who have rough family lives, personal problems, or self-confidence issues. Teachers play an essential role in assisting those children in overcoming their challenges.

However, they often have an entire class to concentrate on all the time. This means they won’t devote as much time to each child who needs special attention. This is something you can do as a teaching assistant. You can give individual students the extra time and feedback they need to improve their morale. Besides, you can make them feel respected and secure.

Teaching Assistant Complete Course
Become an accomplished, confident classroom assistant with a specific focus on supporting SEN students with this online course.
Teaching Assistant Complete Course
Become an accomplished, confident classroom assistant with a specific focus on supporting SEN students with this online course.

How To Become a Teaching Assistant?

So, how to become a teaching assistant with no prior experience in the field? You don’t need a bachelors degree to start teaching. However, there are some prerequisites to the job. Let’s find out!

Educational Qualifications

In the UK, there are no rigid prerequisites to become a teaching assistant. You can apply for positions at any school according to your convenience. You need to finish your GCSEs or equivalent, with a minimum C in Maths and English and other subjects. 

However, it would be best to continually keep yourself updated with your Local Educational Authority’s regulations. Because requirements may be slightly modified with time. 

Keep Your Resume Updated & Ready to Roll!

One woman helping other one to write her resume

The profession’s educational requirements are somewhat relaxed. So, it might give you the impression that there’s room for you to slack off. However, it is far from the actual scenario! The job market of the teaching profession is fiercely competitive and sometimes challenging.

To stand out before your employer, always keep your CV ready. Highlight your career profile in the best way possible. It will make the employer feel compelled to call your cell.

Volunteer & Community Service

Volunteer & Community Service

Proof of volunteering and community service in your resume will give you extra brownie points! During summer break activities, school trips, or after school activities, sign up to volunteer at your local school. Ask if you can assist with special school events. Teachers appreciate any assistance they can receive. You’ll be able to draw on that relationship when the time comes to apply for a teaching assistant job.

You can also help with local community events and athletic facilities, such as sports teams and dance schools. Pay a visit to the community hall to see what activities are available during the week and weekends. Contact the coaches of these facilities to provide your assistance with the broader group of children. 

Additionally, volunteer at your local library as an assistant. If there is any special reading event happening in your locality, sign yourself up! Many of the skills required to be a teaching assistant can quickly be learned by helping the local library.

Online Coaching or Private Tutoring

A person doing online teaching

Many students tutor junior kids on the sideline to pick up some extra cash. You can even give a private lesson to other students while studying in high school. Are you passionate about this profession? Then you can get an early start by tutoring students online or in person. 

Helping local families who are struggling to educate their children at home for free will also look fantastic in your resume. You can also create videos. Create helpful directions for the kids to follow and upload them on your educational blog or YouTube channel. It will give you a big advantage while applying for a job. 

Your employer will be impressed to see how you used social media as an innovative tool to educate children. It will give you an edge to claim the spot for TA.  Alternatively, go a step further and make video calls with the families to offer help. You can even provide the kids with a complete classroom-style lesson. You’ll be able to use it as a guide in the future as well. 

Online Certification Course

Pile of books

The most important fragment of how to become a teaching assistant is certification. Getting certified is not a must. But having adequate knowledge and skills shows your employer your seriousness and commitment to this career. Professional certification courses also increase your potential to earn more and move up the ladder of promotion quickly. One Education offers a range of comprehensive Teaching Assistant Courses. It covers the essentials from SEN teachings to EYFS (Early Year Foundation Stage). It will help you to start your career in the education industry. Additional professional teaching assistant courses include:

Upon completing these courses, you will be much more confident and make a real difference in many kids’ lives. These professional development courses will make you an asset to the school you work at.

Become an Apprentice

How to become a teaching assistant? The answer is simple. Become an apprentice! You can be an apprentice at the minimum age of 16 even if you are still at a GCSE/ A level or any other equivalent educational level such as in diploma or bachelor degree.  

As a teaching apprentice, you’ll work alongside experienced staff. You will gain job-specific skills at a very young age. Furthermore, no previous work experience is required for an apprenticeship. You’ll get on-site training and have enough resources available to study for a permanent career in education. A teaching apprenticeship may take around 1 to 5 years to complete. It depends on which level of training you’re targeting to complete.

As a teaching apprentice, you will be given an hourly minimum wage of around £3.90. The rate may vary depending on the organisation’s type. Additionally, you will receive holiday bonus packages.

DBS Check

To know how to become a teaching assistant, you have to know about DBS check. A DBS check will be carried out before your employer gives you the go-ahead to start working. It is carried out by Disclosure and Barring Service. They find out if there is any criminal record of a specific individual. 

The check is carried out before you start working with vulnerable age groups such as children and older adults. The school or your employer will do a background check on you. They might ask you to bring proof of police clearance. If everything is okay with your documentation, you can start working right away.

Go Job Hunting

job employment opportunities

Have you finished getting all the relevant qualifications and certifications? Then it’s time for you to go on a scavenger hunt to those job posting websites. Start looking for that perfect teaching assistant job in alignment with your career profile. But before, let’s discuss what kind of institution you can get a job in! 

As a TA, you may work in primary schools, academies and nurseries. Independent schools, special schools, secondary schools, elementary schools, daycare are also very good choices.

You can find relevant vacancy posts on the institutional websites of whichever specific institution you are targeting for. Educational agencies and local council authority websites sometimes enlist new vacancies. 

Google may be used to conduct a broader school search. It will reveal a list of advertisers that schools use to hire teaching assistants. For instance,  Reed, Total Jobs, and Indeed. When you see a job opening, make sure you download the job description, application form, and any other documentation the advertiser provides. Check out the school that is advertising. A fast Google search will bring you to the school’s website. You can learn about the school’s past, current status, and future goals from the website. If you’re asked for an interview, think about these carefully and plan specific remarks and questions about them. It will help you to keep an optimistic slant on them. 

Some other career advising & job posting websites you can look into are

Some on Job Duties as a Teaching Assistant

According to the Department for Education, there are more than 24,323 schools in the UK. The number of primary schools is around 17,000 while secondary school numbers are about 4000. The number of facilities is growing. Yet, there is an evident shortage of teachers in proportion to the schools’ ever-increasing student population. Teachers are finding it difficult to devote enough one-on-one time to students as class sizes increase. As a result, a Teaching Assistant’s position is critical to the classroom’s success.

Your responsibilities as a teaching assistant may include:

  • Build a stimulating, encouraging, and nurturing atmosphere in which students want to participate based on their curiosity and interests.
  • Create a healthy atmosphere where students are respected, have a voice, have high self-esteem.  They should have good social, emotional and mental health.
  • Please encourage students to feel comfortable making decisions, taking chances. View them with respect and give them the tools they need to succeed.
  • Hold students to the highest standards and unwavering goals, laying a solid basis for future success.
  • Help prepare day to day reading lessons and stimulating class activities to keep them engaged.
  • Help students with their reading materials if needed.
  • Assist in preparing quiz, term papers and assignments if necessary.
  • Assist with extracurricular activities. Such as after school clubs, homework clubs, playtime etc.
  • Care for injured students, applying first aid as required while counselling them.
  • Have a calm temper in fussy and messy situations.
  • Have patience and take extra care of children with special educational needs.
  • You may need to offer assistance outside the regular courses. For instance, assisting during tests, covering TA absences, or accompanying students on field trips.

Daily Life of a Teaching Assistant!

We’ve covered the basics of how to become a teaching assistant. Now, let’s illustrate what awaits in your daily life as a teaching assistant. Apart from the usual job duties, you might be tasked with additional duties. You also need some basic inherent qualities to be a good teaching assistant.

  • You have to track and record students’ progress. And provide teachers with comprehensive and timely feedback.
  • Work with a group of children and individuals on a project. Make sure that the students understand and remain focused on their work.
  • You’ll be responsible for various administrative activities. For instance, making lesson plans, photocopying, laminating and labelling documents.
  • You have to be careful about the cleanliness and hygiene of the classroom.
  • Notice class attendance and students’ participation every day. Inform guardians if a child is absent or behaving erratically in class.
  • Refer students to helpful resources who are performing poorly and assist them in revising the lessons.
  • You will act as a supplemental learning assistant and prepare a study guide for the kids.
  • You will develop a specialist curriculum area within the school if you are a teaching assistant of a higher level class.
  • Fluent in local language and have good organisational skill
  • Flexible in work & communication
  • You love working with kids & have a creative mind.
  • Have a good sense of humour to lighten up the mood of children as necessary.
  • Provide input that is critical in assisting the instructor in evaluating her plans and materials. You need to assess the students’ success.
  • Assist in administrative work if needed.
  • Excellent teamwork skills are necessary for collaborating with other support personnel, school teachers, and practitioners. For instance, instructional counsellors, speech and language therapists, social workers, and outside agencies.

Salary of a Teaching Assistant

Sterling pound notes

The average starting salary for full-time, permanent TAs is around £12,000. You should expect to gain £19,000 to £22,000 with increased accountability and experience. Level 3 TAs or higher level teaching assistants with additional specialisations or SEN duties can expect to earn up to £28,000. 

While most schools follow local government salary guidelines for additional staff, it is not an absolute binding rule. The pay scale for TA’s is not nationally decided by the Department for Education, UK. Hence, your salary may vary depending on the type of employer organisation. State-funded schools usually pay a steep wage due to various budget cuts. In contrast, many private schools might pay a handsome salary annually. Furthermore, the private school job comes with additional employee benefits to keep an eye out for! 

In essence, your salary as a teaching assistant will vary based on your role, duties, and educational environment. If you work with an educational recruiting firm, the pay could be higher. Because many of them are looking for experienced and qualified individuals.

Importance of Teaching Assistants in the Education Industry

Male teacher helping male student

Teaching Assistants get a closer insight into the children’s lives and teach them to be on their best behaviour. As a TA, you will be assisting in fulfilling educational institutes’ mission of truly educating children.

Furthermore, teaching assistants play a vital role in developing positive and purposeful relationships among students, parents, teachers, and other school staff members. They ensure children achieve the maximum learning outcome from the curriculum plan designed for them. They also realise that not all children have the same level of understanding.

Conclusion

A teaching assistant tries to cater for each child’s unique needs individually. Teaching assistants are integral members of the team. 

If you want to share your expertise and skills to help students grow and learn, you can become a teaching assistant. This will help the students develop into active members of today’s global society.

Teaching Assistant Complete Course
Become an accomplished, confident classroom assistant with a specific focus on supporting SEN students with this online course.
Teaching Assistant Complete Course
Become an accomplished, confident classroom assistant with a specific focus on supporting SEN students with this online course.
June 8, 2021

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