Now that you know how to become a teaching assistant, you might be asking yourself why become a teaching assistant?
Why should I choose this as my career path? What benefits does being a teaching assistant have? And most importantly, what type of job progression is there once I’ve become a qualified teaching assistant.
A teaching assistant is the glue that holds a class together. They provide valuable support to the teacher and offer encouragement and help for children experiencing learning difficulties.
Becoming a teaching assistant is a big commitment along with patience, dedication to the student’s well-being and a basic understanding of childhood development, further training is often required to stay up-to-date with new teaching methods and qualifications.
Despite the sometimes chaotic work environment and pressure from parents and colleagues, a teaching assistant role can be one of the most rewarding careers available.
You can become part of a student’s life and watch them learn and grow as the school year progresses. Here are some other good reasons to think about becoming a teaching assistant:
10 Reasons to Become a Teaching Assistant
1. The Satisfaction of Helping Students Overcome Hurdles
A teaching assistant is often tasked with helping students overcome learning difficulties, and the feeling of satisfaction when you do this is second to none.
A headteacher simply doesn't have enough time to focus their attention on a single student for long periods of time. This is where the teaching assistant role comes into play, and it's one of the key reasons why the job exists.
2. The ‘Eureka' Moment
Teaching a new concept to a child and then seeing them put it into use on their own is one of the best parts of being a teaching assistant.
The look of joy on a student’s face when they solve a problem unassisted is priceless. A teaching assistant is in a unique position to give extra support to students and make sure they don't fall behind their peers.
3. Every Day is Different
Variety is the spice of life, and no two days are ever the same when you're a teaching assistant. Flexibility is a must-have personal attribute, and this aspect of the job means that your day will always throw up a few surprises.
This is part of the job that makes assistant teaching so unique, and boredom is rarely an issue when working in this industry.
4. Ability to Use Your Unique Skills
Perhaps you have a gift for arts and crafts, or can play a musical instrument. These kinds of skills are invaluable in the teaching assistant world.
Imagine being able to introduce your favourite hobby into your working life and being paid to do something you love? If you become a teaching assistant, this is very possible.
5. Stepping Stone to Further Qualifications
Many people start out on their teaching career path with a role as a teaching assistant. The experiences gained when you become a teaching assistant are invaluable if becoming a qualified teacher is the end goal.
In fact, some universities will grant recognition of prior learning for documented teaching assistant experience.
6. Varied Work Duties
The tasks assigned to a teaching assistant are varied and can differ from school to school. Broadly speaking, one of the key duties that a teaching assistant is responsible for is supporting students with learning difficulties or disabilities, often on a 1-to-1 basis.
They are often required to prepare the classroom for lessons each day and keep the area clean and tidy. Another key duty is providing support on school outings or at school events. A day in the life of a teaching assistant is never dull!
7. The Students
At the end of the day, the best part of being a teaching assistant is the students. Being part of a student's life on a day-to-day basis is a position of privilege, with many rewards.
Regardless of your student’s age, the feeling of satisfaction when they achieve their goals is wonderful. The work you do in the classroom can have long-lasting effects that can influence the student's life in positive ways into their future.
8. Making A Difference
During teaching assistant job interviews, when asked the inevitable question “why do you want to be a teaching assistant?” one of the most common responses is that, as a teaching assistant, you are uniquely placed to make a real difference in the lives of the children that you work with. In many schools, there are children who have challenging home lives, personal problems or confidence issues.
While teachers have a vital part to play in helping those children to overcome those difficulties, they have an entire class to focus on all of the time. This means that they cannot work so closely with each child that needs extra attention.
As a teaching assistant, this is something that you can do – giving individual students the additional time and input that they require to increase their confidence and to make them feel valued and safe.
9. It Fits Around Family Life
A great perk of being a teaching assistant is that your work is during school hours. This means if you've got a family of your own you can fit your job in around your caring responsibilities.
You'll also enjoy the usual school holidays so that you won't need to pay for extra childcare or have to make complicated arrangements. Instead, you'll enjoy spending more time with your loved ones.
10. There's A Strong Sense Of Community
One of the best things about being a teaching assistant is that you become part of a strong community made up of the pupils and the school staff. Everyone pulls together as part of a team for the greater good of everyone, not only within the school itself, but also within the wider local area.
A school is a truly unique working environment that embraces people of all age groups – from the youngest nursery child to the oldest grandparent volunteer helper. It's also one of the only workplaces in which you can celebrate cultural events throughout the year.
A school is a joyous place to be employed and as a teaching assistant, you have an integral part to play in bringing those celebrations to life and in helping the entire community to come together in a positive way.
Whether you have the desire to become a qualified teacher, or simply love working with students, the role of teaching assistant can be one of the most rewarding career decisions you will make.
The points raised in this article are just a handful of positive reasons to consider this important position. After starting as a teaching assistant you will most likely discover some of your own reasons to continue in the role.