How to Become a Teaching Assistant
Teaching Assistants provide support to classroom teachers and assist children with their learning in schools and colleges.
What does a Teaching Assistant do?
The main duties of a Teaching Assistant include:
- Helping to manage the behavior of pupils
- Providing emotional and social support for students
- Delivering teaching sessions to small groups
- Assisting with administrative tasks
- Helping with the running of extra-curricular clubs
- Monitoring pupil’s progress and development
Responsibilities of a Teaching Assistant
As a Teaching Assistant, you may be faced with new challenges on a day-to-day basis, including dealing with disruptive behavior and ensuring that all pupils are engaging in a particular lesson or activity.
You will work closely beside classroom Teachers with setting up and tidying away for the day and you will also be responsible for supervising small group activities. Another requirement is to listen to pupils’ reading and to be able to assist the teacher with managing the behaviour of the children in the classroom.
Teaching Assistants are required to assist Teachers with managing challenging behaviour and provide support in difficult situations.
In addition to assisting students with their academic work, Teaching Assistants should also be on hand to provide students with support with emotional and social issues should they want someone to talk to.
Teaching Assistants are also tasked with working closely with small groups, or offering one-on-one tutoring.
A Teaching Assistant must support the Teacher with a range of administrative tasks ranging from collecting books and setting up activities, to cutting card and handing out worksheets.
The role involves providing assistance with running extracurricular clubs, including sports clubs, after-school clubs and breakfast meetings, as well as providing homework support during lunchtimes or after school.
As well as providing support and guiding pupils’ learning, Teaching Assistants are also required to monitor student’s progress and report back to the teacher on how each child is doing.
You will be required to support the pupil’s development by getting involved in activities in and out of the classroom environment. Depending on the specific job specification, you may work exclusively with children and/or young people who require special needs, support with the English language or translations, or who may require extra help and guidance.
How to Become a Teaching Assistant
Each school will have their own set of entry requirements, but generally, you will need to have the following qualifications.
- GCSEs (A* to C) or equivalent, in English and Maths.
- You will also need to get approval from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before you can apply to work with children.
- It is also possible to get qualified for this job through an apprenticeship scheme.
- A degree is not a necessary requirement for a Teaching Assistant role.
- However, qualifications in childcare or youth work would be looked on favorably.
A Teaching Assistant’s job profile
- Strong organisational skills – To be a Teaching Assistant, you will need to be organised with good attention to detail in order to assist the Teacher with setting up for activities and keeping the classroom in order.
- Great communication skills – You need to be able to communicate effectively with the children you work with and build strong relationships with Teachers and other staff members.
- Ability to work calmly under pressure – Working with children can be exceptionally challenging, so you will need to be able to keep calm in stressful situations and continue to work at your best.
- Patience – This role requires you to be patient, especially with children who take a little longer to learn or complete their work.
- Good listener – This skill is vitally important as you will be required to take instruction from your classroom teacher and listen attentively to the children you work with to ascertain what aspects of their work they need extra help with.
How to progress your career as a Teaching Assistant
Depending on how much (or little) responsibility you want to take on, there are different progressions possible with a Teaching Assistant role.
- Starter Teaching Assistant: As a starter assistant teacher, you will attend classes and help out 1 or 2 pupils who may need more support than others. You will also attend training to progress into a more experienced assistant teacher.
- Experienced Teaching Assistant: As an experienced teaching assistant, you will manage small groups by yourself. You will have a good level of training and will be given more responsibilities. You will be able to confidently deal with challenging behavior and build good relationships with your pupils. As your experience develops you may opt to take further qualifications or apply for a Higher Level Teaching Assistant.
- Highly Experienced Teaching Assistant: As a highly experienced teaching assistant, you will have built up a high level of trust from your colleagues and pupils. You will take on more responsibilities including liaising with pupils, parents and teachers on sensitive issues and teach whole classes occasionally if required. Highly experienced teaching assistants will also take a more active role in planning lessons and report on pupils’ development.
Successfully obtaining an assistant teacher position in a school and progressing with experience, you can then look into becoming a teacher, pastoral manager or a special educational needs coordinator.
- Teacher – Starting off as a teaching assistant is a great way to start a teaching career. You would have already experienced first hand what is expected of you whilst in your teacher’s assistant’s role.
- Pastoral Manager – Pastoral managers work very closely with a group of students on a one-to-one basis to deal with issues ranging from the student’s home life to implementing behavior policies. As a teaching assistant, you would already know how to maintain appropriate and professional relationships with students.
- SENCO – Special educational needs coordinators are teachers who have responsibility for all special educational needs at the school they work in. SENCO’s work with their pupil’s parents and subject teachers to ensure that the student in particular is getting the support and help they need.
What to expect as a Teaching Assistant
- Starter Teaching Assistant: £11,500 – £14,000
- Experienced Teaching Assistant: £15,000 – £17,000
- Highly Experienced Teaching Assistant: £17,000 – £23,000
Working hours of a Teaching Assistant
The usual school opening times are from 8:45 – 3:15, however, teaching assistants will be expected to work at least 30 minutes before school starts for preparations and may have to work after school for the supervision of extracurricular activities. On some occasions, for those who have more responsibility, teaching assistants may have to work from home on weekends to prepare classes or mark work.
Discover the latest Teaching Assistant jobs today on Fish4jobs.
If you are new to Fish4jobs and looking for a teaching assistant job, we can help you out to build your perfect CV, cover letter and personal statement which will grab recruiters’ attention and make your search easier.
You can download and fill out our Teaching Assistant CV template to help you to secure your position as a Teaching Assistant.
A cover letter is also an essential document to have when applying for jobs so just simply follow our guide on How to Write a Teacher Cover Letter, copy the template and add the information required.
Some recruiters will also ask you to provide them with a personal statement. Do not panic, we have everything sorted for you. Simply follow our Teaching Assistant Personal Statement examples and template.