A teaching assistant (TA) is an important addition to the learning process. It is an opportunity to become involved in helping students to reach their full potential but do you have what it takes to become a teaching assistant.
As yet, there is no national standard or recognized TA qualification but increasingly, schools and colleges are demanding that TAs have some kind of formal training in how to work with students in and out of the class room.
An accredited TA qualification shows that you have the skills, the knowledge and the ability to work with students to realise their full potential.
TAs work with students in the classroom, as well as in a range of other settings. For example, as a TA you may lead small groups in the classroom to complete given tasks or you may work outside of the classroom to challenge students as part of certain activities.
As a TA you would be expected to be versatile and flexible in your approach but do you know what this really means?
What does it mean to challenge gifted children and how do you encourage less able students to reach their potential?
TAs are often used to enhance the learning process and that means having the skills to cope and manage all kinds of additional learning needs and behaviour management too.
As a result, you could specialise in any number of key areas from managing challenging behaviour in the classroom to working with students with speech and language difficulties, autism, ADHD, for example.
Being a classroom TA is a rewarding career. You become an important person in the learning process of students, providing the support, direction and encouragement they need.
There are also opportunities to progress within this profession too. As well as becoming a TA with certain specialisms, you can also complete additional courses such as the Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA). This qualification allows you to provide short term teaching cover for absent colleagues.
Completing the HLTA qualifications significantly boosts your pay scale too. But always bear in mind that because TA terms and conditions of employment can vary from one school to another and from one local authority to another, the pay range of being a TA will fluctuate too.
TAs are also paid pro rata. In other words, they are paid for term time only. But always check the conditions and pay terms.
Becoming a TA As well as qualifications, work experience is a crucial step in how to become a teaching assistant in your chosen educational setting, whether that is a secondary school, a primary school, a pupil referral unit, a specialist schools for disabled children or a college.
Understanding the current educational system and how children are taught is important for your career as a TA.
Do you have the required skills ? Do you have an understanding of the qualifications you need to become a teaching assistant?