A career as a teaching assistant can be highly beneficial since you’ll still be enjoying the same benefits as a qualified teacher, but you’ll have more flexibility to enable you to attend to other commitments. This position is perfect for individuals who have a passion for working with children but haven’t got any experience or qualifications.

What does a teaching assistant (TA) do?

Teaching assistants have become a valuable asset in the classroom over the years. Their central role is to provide support to the teacher. Their duties could include anything from teaching small groups of children with specific needs or covering a class. A great deal of participation may be expected from them, depending on their level at the time. Not only do they assist the teacher in allowing classes to run smoothly, but they also provide a comprehensive level of support to the children in their care. A TA needs to have a certain level of specific skills and passion, regardless of their level of experience. Most TA’s specialize in particular areas, i.e., literacy, numeracy, and sometimes special educational needs.

Skills required as a teaching assistant

Generally, there are no official qualifications required to become a first level teaching assistant with the minimum prerequisites being GCSE’s in literacy and numeracy or the equivalent. They also need to have individual personalities or character traits which will be surveyed at their first interview. The supporting teaching & learning in schools level certificate, level 3 is ideal for candidates who are already volunteering at a school in the role of a teaching or classroom assistant. This course is focused on students who are directly involved in supporting teaching and pupils learning in an area which necessitates specialist skills and knowledge.

What skills does a teaching assistant need to have:

  • Passion – a genuine passion to work with children, focusing on areas of teaching and learning.
  • Ability – a certain amount of qualifications can help you immensely.
  • Experience – it’s not always a pre-requisite but with experience comes knowledge and better understanding.
  • Compelling regard for pupil well-being and safety.
  • A malleable approach.
  • Professionalism.
  • Friendliness and approachability.
  • Patience and understanding.
  • Reverent of diversity.
  • Writing, reading, and numeracy skills.
  • Confident.
  • Creative.
  • Interpersonal skills and willingness to get involved.
  • Willing to acclimate to change.

What are the duties of a teaching assistant?

The tasks will vary from one classroom to the next, depending on the age group and ability.

Typical tasks of a TA:

  • Delivering learning materials.
  • Supporting pupils both emotionally and socially and encouraging healthy development.
  • Supporting the teacher when dealing with unruly behavior and smooth running of the group.
  • Writing and reading exercises.
  • Helping pupils to stay on track.
  • Looking after upset children, hurt themselves, or have had accidents.
  • Ensuring kids with doing the work set out for them and following the material.
  • Encouraging good behavior in pupils.
  • Providing personal care if needed (e.g., handling and moving).
  • Monitoring the progress of students.
  • Being supportive of other staff members.
  • Understanding and providing a safe space for pupils.