How Do I Become A Teaching Assistant?
If you are thinking of becoming a teaching assistant (TA), you must consider all aspects of the job and ensure that you truly understand the role. A TA position can be a great way of getting into teaching, a reading and satisfying role, and offers fantastic career progression. Here we examine the routes available to become a teaching assistant.
Becoming a teaching assistant - a brief overview of the role
A teaching assistant works in a classroom and will be supervised by the class teacher. Teaching if you love working with children and enjoy educating others, this could be an ideal job for you. If you are interested in this role but don't have any teaching experience, don't worry - you can still become one.
A teaching assistant will support a teacher in any non-teaching tasks. They will also help pupils who need some extra support or attention, which frees the teacher's time to continue with their lesson.
While a TA is not a teacher, they can help the teacher with some of their duties; these may include:
- reviewing lessons, homework, or projects in class
- safeguarding responsibilities
- maintaining pupil's records
- assisting with lesson planning
Can I become a teaching assistant with no experience?
Suppose you think the role of a TA sounds right for you, but you have no experience in the classroom or working with children? In that case, you can still apply for the position without any specific qualifications or experience. The entry barriers to becoming a TA are relatively low. Here are some routes that will help you land the job!
Undertake a college course or TA course
There are colleges all over the country offering courses that are relevant to teaching. A level 2 or 3 courses in childcare and education can help make your CV stand out when applying for a TA role. If you want to get onto the level 3 course, it should be noted that you'll need 4-5 GCSE's grade A-C, and at least 2 GCSEs to be accepted onto a level 2 course (including core subjects such as English and Maths). Many colleges and other institutions offer TA-specific courses. You could also take a course to help children with special educational needs if this area interests you.
Apply for an internship
An internship or apprenticeship is another valuable way of getting into TA teaching. You can enquire with employers directly to gain practical training, which should lead to paid employment.
Volunteering will also look great on your CV when applying for a TA role. Relevant volunteer work includes:
- Volunteering at a local school.
- Volunteering at children's clubs such as after-school clubs.
- Scouts or brownies.
- Looking to your local community for relevant volunteering opportunities.
Gain childcare experience
Nannying, babysitting, or working in a nursery or other childcare setting are also impressive if you hope to land a Ta role. If you are not a parent, learning how to manage children can help prepare you for what life will be like in the classroom.
Demonstrate how you help your own children
If you are a parent, this is another thing to mention when applying for a TA role. Proving how you help and support your kids will give you relevant experience and enhance your skills, so make sure to mention this on your CV and during the interview process.
Apply directly to a school
Once you have built up some experience and feel more confident that you have the skills to make a great teaching assistant, it's time to start applying for employment opportunities. There are two ways to apply:
- Directly to an organisation
- Via local authorities or academy trusts
If you don't have many qualifications or experience, look for roles that require the minimum, as these are the employers who will be more willing to teach people on the job and will have greater flexibility in their hiring process.
Skills required to become a successful teaching assistant
While experience and training will count for a lot, when it comes to preparing your application and for an interview, you should also consider what specific skills are required for the role and be ready to discuss and demonstrate how you have these.
Some of the essential skills for a teaching assistant include:
- Being caring, sensitive, and empathetic
- Having fantastic organisational skills
- Being a great communicator
- Demonstration of active listening skills
- Being able to work with a range of people
- Having patients and stamina
- Being flexible
- Having creativity
- Demonstrating a love of and passion for learning and educating young people
- Basic computer literacy
- A positive attitude
- A clean criminal record - TA's will be background checked before being offered the role
Before applying for a TA role, you should consider how you can demonstrate you possess the above skills and be prepared to give relevant examples to back up your claims.
Find your next teaching job with Horizon Teachers
If you are looking for your next dream teaching job, Horizon Teachers can help. Browse our jobs board, or get in touch with our customer team today to discuss your needs and experience, and we will help you find the ideal role for you