How to Become a Teaching Assistant
What is a Teaching Assistant?
A teaching assistant’s job is to support teachers and students in the classroom. A teaching assistant is also known as a TA, Classroom Assistant, or teacher’s aide. They work under the supervision of the teacher. They may help with lesson planning, supervising students, and providing extra support to students with their studies.
What qualifications do I need to become a Teaching Assistant?
The most useful qualifications for a potential teaching assistant will generally include some form of work placement, allowing you to practice as you learn. Here are a few qualifications that can help you towards becoming a teaching assistant:
- Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
- Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 4 Certificate in Higher Level Teaching Assistant
Do you need the experience to become a Teaching Assistant?
Becoming a qualified teaching assistant is a great achievement, and it creates room for more opportunities for career progression. To succeed in this position, you must have a passion for working with children and a genuine interest in education. Exceptional communication skills are a must, with an approachable nature, flexibility, reading, writing, and listening skills, with a passion for teaching young minds.
You can become a teaching assistant if you have the relevant qualifications, even though you do not have any experience. Moreover, several schools and educational institutions provide on-the-job training for new teaching assistants.
Teaching Assistant Roles & Responsibilities
Although teaching assistant is a support job, they play an important role in the classroom. Some of the roles and responsibilities of a teaching assistant are discussed below:
- Teacher support: A teaching assistant works with teachers to help them plan lessons, create materials, and in classroom management.
- One-to-one support: Teaching assistants help learners by providing them with support individually or in smaller groups. One-to-one support is really helpful for students who need extra help with specific topics or tasks.
- Supporting student behaviour: Classrooms can become a handful for teachers and teaching assistants. Teaching assistants help with classroom management and also ensure that students follow the rules and guidelines.
- Administrative tasks: Teaching assistants are also responsible for administrative tasks such as record-keeping, organising classroom resources, and helping with assessments.
- Supporting students with special educational needs: Teaching SEN & SEND learners requires special attention and resources. TAs provide extra support and accommodations to them in the classroom.
- Supervising students: Supervising students during break times, lunchtimes, and other non-classroom times is also part of a TA’s day.
Overall, teaching assistants play a vital role in supporting teachers and students in the classroom, helping to ensure that students have the best possible educational experience.
Do Teaching Assistants get paid over the holidays?
The job contract determines whether you receive a holiday salary or not. You will receive paid time off during school breaks if you are a permanent and full-time TA. However, teaching assistants usually have term-time-only contracts, so you aren't paid during the summer or winter breaks.
How many hours can a Teaching Assistant work?
As a teaching assistant, you can expect to work between 32 to 40 hours per week. However, the exact number of hours depends on the contract of the TA. For full-time TAs Monday through Friday, school days typically begin at 8.30 am and end at 3.30 pm. Although, it's possible that teaching assistants will need to arrive early or stay after school.
For part-time teaching assistants, the timings may not be as vigorous, but it also depends on the school setting and requirements.
Career Pathway into Teaching As a Teacher Assistant
There are three paths/ levels of experience within the TA role. The salary expectations vary between schools.
As a Level 1 teaching assistant, you will most likely be responsible for helping the teacher prepare for the lesson, encourage children and motivate them to work, and also work with them on certain learning needs, as and when required.
Level 2 will add to your responsibilities as you progress on working more frequently with learners, working closely with special education needs and also those learners who do not have English as their first language.
On Level 3, your job is to monitor each student’s progress and report their individual needs. You will also be assisting in student supervision and behaviour management. You get additional classroom administrative tasks like record maintenance. You liaise with parents, carers and outside agencies whenever required and appropriate.
How much does a Teaching Assistant earn?
Teaching Assistant courses
Do you know you can also work as a private tutor, an examinations officer or somewhere in educational research if you have the Supporting Teaching and Learning qualifications. ELN The e-Learning Network offers the Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools.
Furthermore, if you wish to teach older children / young adults, you might need a qualification such as the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET), which can lead to QTLS membership with the Society for Education and Training. This will allow you to teach anyone over the age of 16 in various schools, colleges, universities, and private training providers across the UK and abroad.
You can become a teaching assistant by getting the relevant qualifications. Enrol in our Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools course to start your teaching journey today!
Do you want to learn more about our teaching qualifications? Contact Us for further details.