Teachers and Teaching Assistants provide an invaluable service every day. They play a central role in laying down a strong educational foundation for the future progress and development of young children. This initial influence that a teacher and a teaching assistant has in the life of a student will determine to a great extent how the child embraces education and how their future goals are defined too.
16th September celebrates the Teaching Assistant Day in the UK.
This year it will be celebrated today, the 14th September, because 16th falls on a Sunday. To celebrate this priceless profession that plays a pivotal role in nurturing young minds, here is a guide to everything that you need to know about the Teaching Assistant job in the UK if you are interested in joining this profession.
What does a teaching assistant do?
Teaching assistants provide support to teachers and help kids with their educational as well as social development. The role that you would have to play would depend on the school that you join and the age of the children in the classes that you support.
In the case of primary school teaching assistant jobs, your role can include the following tasks on a daily basis or regularly;
- Preparing the classroom for lessons
- Listening to students read or narrating stories to them
- Assisting kids who need extra support in learning to complete their work
- Assisting teachers plan learning activities and maintain records
- Helping teachers manage student behaviour in class
- Supervising group activities
- Ensuring that the classroom is neat and clean always
- Planning and carrying out any extracurricular activities
- Fulfilling administrative tasks
If there are any kids who have special needs, you will be working with them closely. In some schools there will be a need for specialised services like literacy, SEN (Special Educational Needs) or numeracy.
With time, dedication and experience you can move on to become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant. Here you will be fulfilling the following tasks;
- Work with teachers to support learning
- Help in planning lessons and preparing teaching materials
- Specialist teaching assistant for certain subjects
- Leading classes under the directions of the teacher
- Supervising other teaching assistants and support staff
- Assessing, reporting and recording individual student progress
If you want to know more about what your role could entail, this blog by the Statistics Department of the Stanford University will give you all the information that you need.
What skills do you need for this role?
You are going to be working very closely with a lot of children, teachers and on occasion, parents too. This means that you need to be dedicated in building up on the set of skills that are needed for the role. Some of the fundamental skills required are;
- Gain experience working with children
- Ability to build good relationships with children, teachers, parents and carers
- Basic understanding of how children develop and learn
- Have a flexible approach to situations and be creative. You will be required to plan out interesting activities for children that capture their attention and help them learn and retain what they learn. Here is a great set of ideas that you can definitely make use of for your student activities.
- Be a team player
- Excellent reading, writing and numeracy skills
- Develop patience and a sense of humour
- Managerial and supervising skills
- Good IT skills
What qualifications do you need to be a Teaching Assistant?
In the UK, each school will usually set the entry requirements for this position. You will however usually need to have experience working with children which will be a big advantage as well. You should also have, ideally, GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (or A* to C) or an equivalent in Maths and English. You will also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to qualify for jobs. However if you can gain an accredited teaching assistant qualifications before you apply for jobs that will help accelerate your career and take you to the level of a professional Teaching Assistant. It will also help you to care for children better. If possible get into an apprenticeship that can give you helpful insight about your role in real life.
Salary, Working Hours and Career Path
On a beginner level, the teaching assistant job’s salaries are usually from £12,125 – £14,000 per year
If you have more experience you can earn about £15,000 – £17,000 per year. But, once your proceed in your career to become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant you can enjoy am income of about £17,000 – £23,000 per year.
You will usually work from around 8.30am – 4.15pm or sometimes finish work earlier.
With enough experience you could apply to become a HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) or you can progress in your career to become a teacher. But, there are many career path progressions that you can gain as a Teaching Assistant. A quick look at this informative diagram will help you find out which path suits you the best.
The career is also in-demand globally with figures sky-rocketing in Australia alone as shown in the graph below.
So now that you know all the details, the most important question is;
How do I become a Teaching Assistant?
The best way to start on this career path is to get the right qualifications that you need. Given that you will be playing a major role in the educational foundations of young children, your academic and professional qualifications are a must.
Global Edulink can help you get your qualifications. With a reputation as one of the leading online education providers in the UK, we offer a wide range of teaching assistant courses online, so that you can study at your own pace and still receive an accredited qualification. Our level 3 teaching assistant courses are accredited by NCFE CACHE and helps you to progress into the Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools or the Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools and into the workforce.
But to help you get started, choose from the below programs and explore your career options.
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