If you are passionate about becoming a teacher, starting your journey as a teaching assistant following studies is surely going to give you the competitive edge many graduates are looking for. A teaching assistant (TA) works alongside a teacher in class to provide individual attention and support to students. This may also include working with students on a one-on-one or a group basis.
The crucial role of a teaching assistant is to work within classrooms but they may also take students to another room or adjoining area to assist them with reading, provide a remedial session, or conduct an activity such as reading and listening.
Teaching assistants also focus on non-teaching tasks such as helping teachers prepare lesson plans. During class, they work with students to help reinforce the lessons. For instance, if a teacher explains a new concept, the teaching assistant may work with groups to ensure that the students have grasped the concept correctly.
What do Teaching Assistants do?
The duties of teaching assistants are various, ranging from administrative to educational in nature.
- Enforce class rules to maintain decorum
- Help with recordkeeping such as attendance sheets, calculating grades and preparing reports
- Help teachers prepare lessons by collecting relevant material, bringing/setting up any equipment such as laptop
- Check and grade quizzes, assessments, homework and exams
- Supervise support staff
- Conduct class under teacher supervision
- Supervise children at feeding, playing and educational activities, in preschools
- Monitor students’ development and provide student feedback to teacher
Some teaching assistants work only for students with special needs who are attending regular classes. Their duty is to ensure these students understand the lesson material.
The annual income for teaching assistants salary may range from £12,000 to over £17,000. A Higher Level Teaching Assistant may earn from £16,000 and £21,000, annually. The pay may vary, depending upon individual skills, job requirement and Local Education Authority (LEA).
As a teaching assistant, you can work in public or private schools at elementary, middle or higher level classes. Other employers are childcare centers, preschool or religious organizations. A TA may also work on a part-time basis, helping teachers conduct classes in summer school.
As a TA, you may also need to spend some time outside classes supervising students during recess or dismissal time.
Education and training
There are no predefined criteria for becoming a teaching assistant, although you should check with your local authority or schools for any specific requirements.
Usually, qualifications pertaining to the field of childcare, youth work and play work can be useful in landing you a teaching assistant job. Communication skills, creativity, patience and flexibility are skills greatly valued in candidates for teaching assistant jobs. You can spark up your resume by volunteering for a few hours at any local school.
As a teaching assistant, you will be required to undertake any in-house or nationally-approved induction trainings.
You can gain the following qualifications to advance your career:
- Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 3 Certificate Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools.
These qualifications are widely available at local colleges. You may be assessed on your job while completing your diploma. Moving further, you can also study for a foundation degree, available at various colleges and universities.
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