Becoming A Teaching Assistant...
If you like working with children and want to play a part in their education and wellbeing, this career could be ideal for you....
Why might I want to become a teaching assistant?
TA work is flexible and it’s term time only. Both part and full-time vacancies are constantly cropping up and suit many that may have growing children or have just finished university. Regardless of your reasons, TA work gives you a fantastic way of working with children, getting experience in a classroom, and offers the chance to express your creativity. So if this is the type of job you're looking for, it's time to read on...
How do I become a teaching assistant?
There is no set entry-level qualification for being a TA, although there are many courses you could apply for whilst or before working in a school. Colleges, open university and night schools are a great way of gaining childcare or specifically tailored TA qualifications that include providing support for learning activities, supporting child development and providing effective support to colleagues. Although these aren't essential, they are a great way to support an application and make you a desirable candidate.
As with anyone who works with children, you will need to have a DBS (Disclose and Barring Service) check in place before you can work as a TA, these will be completed by your employer when you take up work. You can apply directly to schools that have jobs available or signing up to a teaching agency is another great way of getting your name out there. Many of these will also guide you in tailoring your CV, approaching schools you may wish to work for and helping you to gather experience in a number of placements to help you strengthen future applications.
So you've seen the role that you wish to apply for and want to get the ball rolling, your CV is up to scratch but it's a great idea to check what characteristics the school are looking for. When tailoring your CV, be sure to add in the typical skills and traits that would make you the perfect type of TA to take on board, you need to sell yourself big time and this is the way to do it.
Reading, writing and numeracy skills
Good communication skills
The ability to build good relationships with children and adults
A love of working with children and the ability to manage groups of pupils
Flexibility and creativity
A passion for learning
I have all of these traits, but do I need experience?
It's not always essential to have classroom experience, so don't shy away from applying. Perhaps you want this role because you've always wanted to teach, or you have been involved in looking after family members and feel that you want to turn it into a job?! Regardless of your reasons, its important to take what you do have and outline it's positives, all employers love passion, so work with what you've got.
If you do have some highly relevant experience, then make sure it's included in your application. ANY work, paid or voluntary with children will give your prospective employers a good idea about your likely abilities as a teaching assistant.
Is there a possibility of career progression?
There are a wide range of qualifications available to teaching assistants to help you develop in this role, most of the awards are vocational qualifications which you study for whilst working so it's always a great chance to climb the career ladder whilst getting hands on experience. Each award has an associated number of points assigned to it and by completing them you can gain a diploma or NVQ.
Depending on where you begin, there are four different levels are Teaching Assistant that you can reach:
Level one teaching assistants (TA1)
Level two teaching assistants (TA2)
Level three teaching assistants (TA3)
Higher level teaching assistants (TA4)
Regardless of your choices to teach, the route you've decided to take or the experience you may have, Teaching Assistant work is the perfect path to get you started on your journey into the education sector. Today is the day you apply for that brand new job... Ready... Steady... GO!