How to Become a Teaching Assistant in the UK
Aside from teachers, teaching assistants also have a big part to support the learning activities happening in nurseries and schools.
A teaching assistant (TA), you are required to help the students in regards to their social, emotional, and educational development either as a whole class, in groups, or individually.
Aside from supporting the students, it is also your job to support the teacher. That’s why you are called a Teaching Assistant. You are the one who will take the undertaking duties of the teacher that will ease their burden in teaching. These include creating displays of the work of the children, creating resources, and preparing every corner of the room for the coming teaching sessions.
In some cases, other Teaching Assistants support the pupils exclusively. They are mostly focusing on the pupils who have specific needs of SEN (special educational needs).
What are the Responsibilities of a Teaching Assistant?
The responsibilities of a teaching assistant are dependent on different factors, such as TA status, training, and previous experiences. In general, a TA should do the following duties:
- Ensure that the students under your supervision are able to engage focus on an activity required in the activity or lesson or actively engage in learning sessions. Through this, your pupils will become more independent.
- Support your student’s emotional and social development. If you have seen problems in either of the two aspects, immediately report them to the teachers whenever needed.
- Give the teacher enough support when it comes to promoting good behaviours in the classroom and managing the challenging behaviours of the students.
- Have good listening ears to the pupils reading. Also, read a context related to the lesson in front of the students, either one-to-one, group, or class.
- Keep an eye on the progress of the pupils and create regular ad detailed feedback to the teachers.
- Take responsibility for a teacher’s administrative duties, including classroom preparation and before and after class. This will make sure that effective teaching is present.
- Look after the students who have experienced bad accidents. If necessary, administer first aid. Also, keep close attention to pupils who are upset or need help in dressing.
- Create other resources that can be used by the teachers in teaching. Also, it is your duty to create an art section to display the artworks made by the pupils.
- Offer support inside and outside of the room. These include going on school trips, covering the Teaching Assistant absences, and helping the pupils during every examination.
- Help the students with their extracurricular activities, which include lunchtime duties, playtime, revision sessions, homework club, after-school clubs. And breakfast.
- What to Expect for Being a Teaching Assistant?
- You need to support students who are experiencing behavioural difficulties or/and learning difficulties.
- You might have a hectic working schedule almost every single day. Aside from that, you might also be ordered to provide additional support to both pupils and teachers, even for a short time. You should not expect that being a teaching assistant is only about providing help when necessary.
- Varying on your role in the school, you might be required to offer personal care to the students and help them to move up or get lifted whenever necessary.
- We cannot deny that being a teaching assistant is as daunting and challenging as a teacher. But every time you see your student progressing, it paid off all the time, effort, and hard work you deposited in this job.
Take note that most of your works will be done within the confines of a classroom. But as mentioned, the teacher may ask you to be present on school trips, outdoor activities, and lunchtime supervision.
If you are planning to be a teaching assistant, make you that you will find time to improve your career and develop more skills.
The following are the qualifications for a teaching assistant:
If you are applying for an entry-level position, you are required to know, understand, and perform basic numeracy and literacy skills. In most cases, you should have a GCSE in either English or Mathematics. Aside from that, it is also expected that you have previous working experience related to kids.
Becoming a teaching assistant does not require you to hold a degree. But if we recommend you to have one to be on top of the game. A degree shows that you have enough skills and competitiveness to handle the work. To qualify to be a teaching assistant, you need to have work experience involving children, which includes youth work, children’s playwork, nursery, and childcare.
Even though the following qualifications are not that important, these will offer you essential information regarding the path you will take. You are also required to have knowledge, understanding, and skills to work with young people or children in special schools, secondary schools, or primary schools.
- Level 1 – Preparation to work in a classroom
- Level 2 – Supporting several works present in the schools
- Level 3 – Support both learning and teaching aspects in school.
You can achieve these levels without the need to work in an education-related workplace.
What Skills are Needed to Qualify for a Teaching Assistant Job?
The following are the required skills you need to quire when applying for a teaching assistant position:
- Ability to create rapport, inspire, and motivate the children to learn
- A strong passion for ensuring the safety of the pupil and everyone inside the room
- The ability to respect the differences of each student because you will be dealing with several students who have various backgrounds.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills. This will help you create a good relationship with the governors, teachers, parents, and pupils.
- Numeracy, writing, and reading skills
- Good team working skills needed to work with other classroom teachers, support staff, and professionals. It even includes external agencies, social workers, language and speech therapists, and psychologists.
- A flexible time to work in different situations, considering that you will be involved in different school-related tasks. These include forest school, art and science projects, cooking, and many more.
- Organizational skills
- High level of professionalism at work
Being a teaching assistant is easier than being a teacher. Those are the steps and qualifications you need to become a TA.