Teaching Assistant job description

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A teaching assistant performs an important role in contemporary classrooms. Those working as teacher aides allow class teachers to concentrate on the task they do best, nurturing young minds. The best teaching assistants are those that allow classes to start and progress smoothly.
Candidates for the role are expected to be able to deal with all aspects of the classroom environment. The main function of the job is assisting pupils with lessons, especially learners with special needs or non-native English speakers. Other tasks include classroom and materials preparation, administration, student record maintenance and liaising with parents.
Applicants for positions in this satisfying role are expected to have the requisite NVQ level qualification. Those who have reached national standard HLTA are usually given preference as they are able to lead classes with minimum teacher supervision.
Openings for individuals to take on this role have boomed since the government recognised a need for them in 2003. There are now countless vacancies at schools throughout the UK. Incumbents usually only work in term-time and are paid annual salaries from £16,000 to £28,000.

Description

Teaching Assistants are required to support teachers in schools. They may work with a whole class, small groups or just individual children. These assistants help pupils with physical impairments, learning difficulties, and students that do not have English as a first language. They may work as special needs assistants by accompanying a student around the school, helping them to carry bags and take notes in classes.

Teaching Assistants usually perform many of the following tasks:
• Encouraging children to play together.
• Listening to pupils.
• Caring children in case of accidents.
• Teaming up with other professionals.
• Helping children with educational needs.

Skills

• Being creative and flexible.
• Having good math skills.
• Having interpersonal abilities.
• Being patient.
• Having good IT skills.
• Being well organised.
• Being responsible.
• Having lots of energy.
• Being able to work with a team.
• Being able to cope with challenging behaviour.

Education

Teaching Assistant jobs do not have specific academic requirements, but it is recommended to have aptitudes for Math and English and a good level of general education. Candidates for these jobs need to be at least 18 years old for training schemes. Employers value relevant experience from youth work and nursery nursing more than qualifications.

There are training schemes offered by the National Council for Further Education, including an Initial Training for Classroom Assistants, stage 1 and 2. There is no need of previous work experience for stage 1. Apprenticeships can be obtained on the job and include SVQ/NVQ Level 2 for Teaching Assistants and other higher qualifications.

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