How to become a teaching assistant- Explore Jobs and Career paths

If you are passionate about creating a career in the education sector, being a Teaching Assistant is what you want. It is both satisfying and suitable. Have a look at some of the right sides of the role:

  • Positions are local.
  • Hours are flexible.
  • Roles are creative.

Teaching jobs can be a very time-consuming process too, but classroom support is always in demand. Are you eager to know more about how to become a teaching assistant along with getting to know the career guide in the UK? Stay active with me and discover how to get in this profession and how this fundamental role works.

What is a Teaching Assistant?

A teaching assistant (TA) is someone who works in a nursery or school to assist both the teacher and the students in a classroom. However, job roles, of course, differ at various levels and the role of a teaching assistant has become even more precious than previous times.

Teaching assistants as professionals in education. So, it is essential to be as qualified and as experienced as you can to become a Teaching Assistant. You will work in both primary and secondary schools as well as schools and nurseries, which handles children with special needs. 

Teaching assistants’ roles can include anything from taking small groups of students out of the classroom for learning activities, to covering a lesson, or even supporting those pupils with different needs.

What do teaching assistants do?

With the number of students and classes rising, children must be guided and encouraged in the right way, to reach their potential output. That’s where being a good teaching assistant can come handy. A couple of the day to day tasks that are involved in this role are:

  • They are helping children to read.
  • They are supporting small groups in lessons.
  • Managing school trips and functions.
  • Preparing activities and learning materials.
  • Setting up displays and keeping classrooms tidy.

You are supposed to make use of the chance of getting in touch with every stage of providing a lesson and create a remarkable outcome. Witnessing children’s gradual progress makes being a teaching assistant a valuable occupation. 

The responsibilities of being a teaching assistant depend on the level of TA qualification and their personal experiences, as well as the demands of individual schools. The role of the TA is full of variation flexibility. 

Few of the features of the job which TA’s should know well before joining includes: 

  • Assisting the teacher with the delivery of the lesson.
  • Supporting students with learning difficulties or disabilities.
  • Making the classroom ready for lessons.
  • Cleaning up and keeping the classroom in good order.
  • Creating displays of pupils’ work.
  • Supporting on school trips or at school events.

What are the responsibilities of a TA?

The duties of a TA (teaching assistant) are dissimilar from each role. The tasks depend on the level of experience of individuals. Every job role is different so go through the points mentioned below.

Some TA’s may be hired to help and support the learning of a specific student and simply work with that one pupil. TA’s also assist class teachers in delivering lessons and learning activities.

Your job roles may involves

  • Listening to children read while supervising them.
  • Provide reading and writing activities with the class 
  • Assisting teachers fix lesson activities every day
  • Creating and setting up displays
  • Serving teachers to manage class behaviour
  • Helping a teacher in running a class smoothly and efficiently.
  • Ensuring each student understood their work and working accordingly.
  • Arranging learning activities with groups of students
  • Managing group activities
  • Managing students break times.

These are just some of the many fundamental responsibilities you need to carry out. The duties you will be assigned to will depend on your job role, level and experience. Some teaching assistants work one-to-one, whilst others might work closely with a specific group of pupils.

What qualifications does one need to become a teaching assistant?

There may be high competition for teaching assistant jobs, so making sure that you have the right qualifications on your CV is essential. There is no such official course for teaching assistants available, but organisations do look for stuff that is accredited. Every particular school has specific requirements for hiring aspiring teaching assistants, but preferably someone who likes working with children because that is very important. 

Few characteristics that you should have to be a good TA even without experiences include

Being good with children 

That’s a kind of requirement that schools want you to have before joining as a TA. A good teaching assistant should understand the function of making children learn and develop themselves. Each child is dissimilar from another, so you should have the feature of having a child-centred approach, which means you’ll be able to modify any student’s style.

Being Flexible and adaptable

When you are flexible to portray a different approach to each student, you also need to adapt to the flow of a teacher’s daily lesson plan. To be a keen teaching assistant, you should be able to adapt to how the teacher provides the lectures and take a hold on it, so being able to adapt is needed.

Have solid literacy and numeracy skills

As a teaching assistant, it is, of course, crucial that you have the right amount of knowledge regarding reading, writing and arithmetic. It is because you are supposed to teach your students correctly. In addition to learning the procedure, you should also develop having good communication skills to explain different topics nicely to the pupils. That’s what makes a teaching assistant better.

To have the ability to communicate effectively

Communicating reasonably with students is necessary because there will also be times when they will supply feedback to their parents and guardians. Maintaining good relations with both students and parents is just very important.

To have adequate preparation

As a teaching assistant, you should have the habit of planning things. Keeping ready in advance what will be taught the next day or week will let you have the advantage to plan out how they may deliver their messages to the children during the lessons.

To be able to provide useful feedback

Teaching assistants are known as the front-liners of teaching young students. Therefore, you are working with children personally and can notice if a child is absent-minded. You can find out their problems quickly, whether it’s a student who is finding difficulties with the pace or if someone is performing well but is bored with the slow pace of lectures. In any case, you can provide this feedback to the teacher, and address any issue quickly.

Entry-level positions

For entry-level positions, you’ll need to have basic literacy and numeracy skills, usually GCSE or equivalent (National 4 or 5 qualifications in Scotland) in maths or English, and experience of working with children.

Although you don’t need a degree to become a teaching assistant, having one can be an advantage as this shows a competent level of skills. Qualifications and experience in related areas such as childcare, nursery, play or youth work can also be useful.

Although not essential, the following qualifications can provide a useful introduction to the sector and an understanding of the knowledge and skills you need to work with children or young people in primary, secondary or special schools:

  • Level 1 Award in Preparing to Work in Schools
  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
  • Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.

Particular schools set their entry requirements for jobs, so check vacancies carefully to find out what skills, experiences and teaching assistant qualifications they’re looking for.

Educational requirement

Since bachelors are considered as the minimum degree requirement for licensure, large numbers of applicants apply to these programs. 

You can choose to pursue higher-level degree programs to help increase your chances of obtaining the positions you desire. You can also simply learn more about the field, that means the most to you. Regardless of which degree program that you select for your career, your participation in these degree programs can help you understand the basic principles of teaching children in a classroom. Moreover, there are also many things to think about when you are interested in enrollment into degree programs related to teaching. 

Some of the chief factors regarding your education are directly related to the quality of your plan, education and the specialisation in this field. Since teachers are required to be licensed to operate their classroom learning environment, degree programs offering certificates in teaching must be reviewed and approved by the correct governing agency.

Required skills and qualities

There are specific traits you will need to have to become a good teaching assistant. These are also what your employers will look for within your application or interview.

  • You should have the ability to relate to students and their parents or guardians. You may gain this experience from working in a school or being a guide in a sports team previously. This will help to improve your awareness of how to motivate your students and promote good working relationships with their parents.
  • You must have a passion for the subjects you are willing to teach at a school. You need to show that you took the time to read this subject in your free time and that you are eager to learn more.
  • A depth of knowledge that you should have to teach in the relevant curriculum. This will allow teachers to know how to build better foundations for learning and how to set developmental expectations for their students.
  • Your capability to pass your knowledge to the students encouragingly and understandably. If you turn out to be a motivational teacher, you will gain phenomenal communication skills through your work with students. You can teach the curriculum in many different ways to students who have various learning methods.
  • You should have enough confidence in your potential to teach the students. You should also have the ability to be a great role model for your students.
  • You should know how to have good organisational skills as you frequently need to balance students needs, class lessons, assignment and maintain discipline.
  • Dedication, commitment and resilience – these three are essential for you to have for a better career. 
  • You should know how to deal with conflicts and learn to be patient and calm in some stressful situations that may occur during your work.
  • You should allow students and parents to develop integrity for you, which will enable them to trust you as a teacher.
  • A good sense of humour counts too.
  • Good arithmetic skills, literacy and reading skills are needed to help students with their lessons.
  • You need to have a positive approach to working with children as it matters a lot.
  • Capability to motivate students to reach their full potential
  • You need to be an excellent team player for working with different kinds of people. 
  • Being creative with your work adds a value too!
  • An adaptable approach towards work, as you have to work on a range of school-related extracurricular activities such as cooking, art and science projects.
  • Organisational skills
  • A professional attitude to work
  • You need to have an eagerness to keep up to date information on educational policy and training related to your role.

Working hours

Working hours are in most cases considered during the school time, which is from Monday to Friday on weekdays. 

You may be preferred to work in early mornings or after school time if you’re supporting extra school activities. In addition to your work hours, you may also need to attend pieces of training, meetings or parent-teacher interviews.

Some schools form activities over the summer season that you could take part in as a supervisor. This would usually be paid additionally to your usual salary.

Generally, mid-term and summer holidays are counted as part of your holiday permit. You are strictly prohibited from taking time off during the ongoing term. However, if you still do, you will need a good enough reason for the absence to be authorised.

Employment contracts differ significantly in this career. Sharing part-time jobs are expected. Permanent contracts do take place too, but a rising number of schools prefer offering temporary agreements. These tend to be expected when the focus of your role in supporting a particular pupil.

How to be a good Teaching Assistant

Keep yourself up to date

You can help the students if you have a gist of their learning process and learning materials from before. Always go through the teacher’s teaching plans, syllabus books, etc., to stay updated. 

Put yourself forward to check homework and grade them accordingly

A segment of the duties of a teacher includes the process of recording the everyday progress of a student. You can be of great help to the teacher by diving these duties amongst your teacher and you.

Stay in contact with parents or guardians

Make sure to make calls professionally. For instance, if you are facing behavioural issues from a student, make sure to show the gist of what the student does in class along with the reports of the behavioural problem. Keep in mind that zero parents want to hear only bad things about their child. Providing them with only negative feedback will reduce the amount of support and cooperation you get from the parent.

Help the teacher with sunning several tasks

You are needed to stay with the students in class at all times when the teacher is away. If the teacher needs something from outside for a day’s lesson, it could be quite difficult for her to cover it by herself. You shall aid in this situation by going out and doing what she has missed doing for the class. That could be of generous support for the teacher.

Help with scheduling

In many cases, teachers have a scheduled routine attached in the classroom that shows important dates and events for a particular month. You can sometimes help in creating this routine, as it might get boring for your teacher. You’ll need to have a grip on school events and regular classroom procedures before being able to do this.

Assist in looking out for students

Many emergencies often take place for teachers. The school where you work at may have regulations about who shall stay with students for an extended period, but most will allow a teaching assistant to visit with students for 10 minutes or less. Your responsibility is to make the teacher aware that you are always available for her.

Career option

Teaching assistants are the most usual and known job choices for graduates. Many teacher chase higher tier positions after they have gained some experience in the field a lot of time. There are several choices for you to look upon while you proceed in this field of becoming a teaching assistant.  As you create your path through the educational and practical requirements, you are motivated to fix your visions on a career that is acceptable for your goals as an educator and your philosophies on helping others.

Job opportunities

As a teaching assistant you’ll gain skills in working as a team, forming good relationships with students, parents and teachers, being innovative and looking for ways to assist students in learning. There are many roles for teaching assistants to take part in nurseries, primary and secondary schools and schools for children with special educational requirements.

With the correct practical content and training, you can proceed to have a senior role, maybe higher level teaching assistant. In that case, you’ll have a higher salary and more duties, like assisting the teacher to plan class lessons, the chance to expertise in a particular subject and supervising a class. Working as a TA will make you find out if you have better qualities that will help you proceed further. If you think you like the classroom environment and are looking for something more challenging, keep in mind that the door is open for you to build a career as a qualified teacher.

Teaching will let you utilise your skills to inspire young people and make sure every student receives the same quality education. It’s a career that offers varied opportunities, where no day is ever the same.

Bottom line

Each school set their entry requirements and decide which qualifications and experience they want while hiring. Some institutions may prefer previous experience in nursery work, schools or childcare. But even if you don’t have enough knowledge of working with children, don’t worry at all! You can portray your personality and potential to the employers, so they may be encouraged to hire you and give you proper training on the job role.

Don’t hesitate to become a teaching assistant if you are willing to be one. If you are someone passionate about creating a career in the education sector, which is both satisfying and suitable, being a Teaching Assistant is what you are looking for.

February 1, 2021

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