Yep, you guessed it: teaching assistants provide assistance to teachers! These guys are vital cogs in the education wheel, providing general support to teachers and their students and working in both primary and secondary schools.
Teaching assistants play an important role in lesson planning, and help to facilitate children’s understanding and retention of information. Furthermore, they might work with groups of struggling students and even actively teach segments of certain lessons.
These guys get stuck into the administrative side of teaching and help with other general tasks on an ad hoc basis. Some teaching assistants specialise in helping children with learning difficulties and special educational needs.
Salary & benefits
On average, a teaching assistant in an entry-level position might earn between £13,000 and £15,000 a year.
However, depending on the specific school and the level of responsibility, that number can go up to between £20,000 and £25,000 a year.
Understandably, the majority of a teaching assistant’s time is spent working in a classroom. However, you might occasionally be required to provide support to teachers on field trips and other excursions.
Your working hours are determined by the specific institution that you work for. Apart from that, you can expect to do a fair amount of work outside of the classroom, preparing lesson plans and carrying out other administrative tasks.
Depending on the school and the local education authority (LEA), the qualifications required for these careers will vary. There are no mandatory qualifications for teaching assistants.
Proficiency in English and maths and relevant experience of working with children is usually sufficient. However, one way to boost your chances of finding work would be to get a level two or level three teaching assistant NVQ.
Training & progression
Once you have established yourself as a teaching assistant, you can progress to achieve Higher Level Teaching Assistant status. This is necessary if you want the opportunity to actually teach students directly.
Depending on your specific career aspirations, you can also work towards becoming a teacher. Many teaching assistants study on the side to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
This is a great way to get classroom experience (and a decent salary) while you are training to become a teacher.