Teaching Assistant: The Next Best Thing to Being a Teacher

Teaching Assistants often lead rewarding careers in education.  People who enjoy being around children and helping them learn find that TA jobs can be enriching experiences.  Such positions are also a great way to determine if working in an academic setting is the right life-long career choice.  While entry-level TAs can become valuable supports for classrooms and schools, TAs with advanced experience and training may even garner greater levels of responsibility.

What Does a TA Do?

Teacher assistantA teaching assistant is seldom bored.  Each day may require various tasks that may involve helping the teacher prep for an activity, one-on-one tutoring, supervising children at a task, or any other number of things that come up during the school day.  Both teacher and TA may operate as a team most days; though, TAs rarely must lead lessons and are often subject to the teacher’s direction.  However, this arrangement is often what TAs love so much about their work.  They aren’t responsible for lesson planning or grading so they can focus their attention primarily on their relationships with the students and finding ways to help each of them advance in their studies.

Qualifications for Becoming a TA

TAs are not required to have the same credentials as teachers.  Many come to these positions with various skill sets and qualifications.  It’s up to the school to determine if the applying person is right for a TA position at their school.  On the other hand, obtaining a TA job can be competitive and having an edge can help a person succeed in obtaining a positions.  Having taken one or two teacher training courses would be considered good experience.  Studying for foundation degrees or working as an apprentice may provide the right background for becoming a TA.   Also, many TAs have been invited to work simply having volunteered at a school which is a fine way to obtain the necessary experience and training to work as a TA.

Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA)

A TA that qualifies meets the designated professional standards and meets the national qualifications at level 2 (or beyond) in numeracy and literacy can achieve HLTA status.  An HLTA qualifies for a higher rate of pay (though salaries vary from school to school) and tends to be given a more responsible role in the academic program.  Many qualifying HLTAs prefer to specialise in an area like mathematics tutoring, science tutoring, or classroom support.  It often happens that HTLAs will decide to continue their studies and become teachers.

A Rewarding Career

Working as a TA or HLTA can be a rewarding occupation for people who enjoy helping children learn and advance their studies.  It is also excellent experience for individuals who may be contemplating a career in education after completing the necessary studies to become a teacher.  TAs are valuable members of the learning community and their roles in classrooms throughout the UK (and U.S.)  often make differences in student’s lives on a daily basis.  The work they do with children fulfills a vital aspect of day-to-day learning.

See Also:

Becoming a Teacher in a Field-Based Setting So, You Want to Become a National Board Certified Teacher? The Creative Teacher: An Encyclopedia of Ideas to Energize Your Curriculum 101 Great Classroom Games: Easy Ways to Get Your Students Playing, Laughing, and Learning


About the Author:

Paige Burton has a background in the education sector. In her spare time she enjoys writing about teaching. Click the link to find teaching assistant courses


Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net




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