If you have ever wondered what steps you need to take to become a Teaching Assistant, then this article can help. Over the course of this post, we aim to provide you with all the steps you could ever need to venture into this rewarding career with confidence.
What do Teaching Assistants do?
Before you begin searching for a course, it is important that you fully understand the role Teaching Assistants play in the classroom and how they differ from teachers.
At their core, Teaching Assistants aim to support teachers – both in and outside of the classroom – by helping them to support student learning and development. This can range from helping them to implement lessons plans, to working one-on-one with small groups or individual students.
Admittedly, some of the responsibilities Teaching Assistants undertake will vary depending on the school or the age of the students you are working with. However, most Teaching Assistants undertake the following duties:
- Preparing the classroom e.g. ensuring there are enough worksheets, equipment and resources for class activities.
- Reading stories to smaller children and teaching them how to read and write.
- Supplying additional support to students who may need it, including those with special needs.
- Helping teachers to plan lessons and activities; manage the classroom and monitor children’s behaviour.
- Administrative tasks – for instance organising any paperwork or materials that are required for class.
- Providing support during school trips and group activities.
Should you venture into higher education and choose to become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, then you would be expected to undertake additional responsibilities, including working as a specialist assistant for certain subjects/classes. As a HLTA, you would also have the chance to lead classes (under the supervision of a teacher) and work on reports and assessments.
How can I become a Teaching Assistant?
Luckily becoming a Teaching Assistant doesn’t require a degree, so if you are genuinely interested in pursuing a career in this field, then you don’t have to worry. However, having an education related degree could give you an added advantage when applying for posts.
How to get started
Step One: Where to study
You have got a number of choices. You can either enrol into college, or if you wish to complete your studies whilst still working, you can take advantage of the numerous online Teaching Assistant courses that are out there. Online courses are especially useful as they allow you to learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home.
Step Two: Entry Requirements
Before choosing a place of study we strongly recommend checking out the entry requirements for local schools. They can vary a little depending on the school, so it is important to be aware of their expectations before you choose a course. However, most schools require that you have a qualification in childcare or nursery work and that you have got a good GCSE in English and Maths (or an equivalent qualification).
Step Three: Work Experience
Getting the right qualifications is not enough. Most Teaching Assistant qualifications require that you also gain work experience working within a school environment. This can be achieved initially by volunteering at a local school; however you can also gain experience working with children by: tutoring, working in a nursery, coaching children’s sports or getting involved in local youth work.
NOTE: you will need to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before you can work with children.
Step Four: Do you have the basic skill set?
Becoming a great Teaching Assistant requires a number of basic skills, so you need to ask yourself – do you have the following?
Are you professional? Are you a positive person with a ‘can-do’ attitude? Do you have a genuine regard for the wellbeing and safety of children? Can you work in a team and help motivate children to work together? Do you have the organisational skills needed to help plan lessons and perform administrative tasks?
More importantly, do you love working with children?
Your Next Steps…
As we’ve mentioned before, working as a Teaching Assistant is highly rewarding, so if you are genuinely interested in working with children and maybe even want to become a teacher one day, then gaining a qualification as a Teaching Assistant can bring you one step closer to achieving your dream.
For more information on our range of online Teaching Assistant courses, contact us today.