Photo of a teaching assistant

Skills needed to a be a great Teaching Assistant

Becoming a teaching assistant is a great career path for people who want the satisfaction gained from helping pupils overcome hurdles.

What is a Teaching Assistant?

A teaching assistant or educational assistant (often abbreviated to TA or EA; sometimes called a classroom assistant) in schools in England and Wales is a person who supports students in the classroom. Teaching assistants are often used to take small groups of children out of a class who need extra support in an area, such as literacy or numeracy. It can also involve working with children who have special education needs (SEN), which the teacher cannot always accommodate in their normal class environment.

Why become a Teaching Assistant?

Not without its challenges, being a teaching assistant can be one of the most rewarding careers available. You can become a part of a student’s life and watch them learn and grow as the school year progresses. The feeling of satisfaction when students overcome learning difficulties is immense. The joy on a student’s face when they solve a problem unassisted is priceless. Every day is different. It also offers flexible working – teaching assistants work family friendly hours, with as much as 12 weeks paid holiday a year. There’s also room to progress if you want to develop a career in the education sector.

What makes a great Teaching Assistant?

Patience and dedication are two of the biggest attributes needed to become a teaching assistant. Acting as a mediator between pupil, teacher and parent requires the ability to build good relationships – you need to develop trust in the classroom and confidence from parents and carers. A willingness to keep abreast of new thinking on how children learn and develop is key. Being a team player, operating as part of a wider school network. Finally, flexibility, creativity, passion and energy are crucial – teaching assistants are dynamic roles.

What are the entry routes for a Teaching Assistant?

You don’t need a degree to be a teaching assistant. Wandsworth Lifelong Learning offers an Apprenticeship in Support Teaching and Learning in Schools Level 2/3 – which gives you all you need to start a career as a teaching assistant. A good grounding in English and Maths is essential – if you do not have GCSEs in these topics, you can also access a Functional Skills qualification at Wandsworth Lifelong Learning.

To find out more about becoming a teaching assistant via an Apprenticeship – visit our Apprenticeship overview today and send an enquiry. 

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