Every student, every classroom and every school will have their entry requirements in regards to teaching assistant jobs. Individual schools are at liberty to set their needs according to what they need teaching assistant for. Some may expect you to have qualifications in support work or support teaching if you seek to be employed immediately.
Others may be willing to give on the job training and support. The qualities, attributes and skills vary among different schools. However, although the level of experience, qualifications and entry requirements may vary, some qualities are required across the board.
Working with Children
A particular school may require you to have worked previously with children. This might come in various ways such as being qualified in youth work, child care or nurse work. Alternatively, volunteering in a local school is a good way to get classroom experience.
Experience with children shows schools that you have the commitment and right personality for the role. This experience can be applied to managing small and large groups of children and being able to handle those with challenging behavior or special educational needs. To achieve this, you require a sense of humour, patience, rapport and authority in order to engage various students appropriately.
Building Good Relationships
A teaching assistant job often feels like being a mediator between parents, teachers and students. Teacher’s aides work across these distinct groups and need to be able to develop a rapport with everyone quickly.
Children want to be able to trust you and relate to you in the classroom. Parents should have the confidence that you can fulfill their children’s educational requirements while teachers should trust the Teacher Aide with their students in and out of the classroom.
Understanding how Children Develop and Learn
There are ever changing and endless theories regarding how children develop and learn at different stages, which may be through playing in their early years of education or the most appropriate way to teach students at higher levels.
While a teaching assistant does not necessarily need to be familiar with the educational theories linked to each age group, a basic understanding of children development and learning theory is important at the relevant stage.
Passion and Flexibility
A teacher’s assistant job is a dynamic position. You may be working with groups at one moment, supporting a classroom teacher in broad lessons prior to working individually with children who have special needs.
You will work in and out of the classroom, help with planning lessons and engage the children. You need to have passion for education, be flexible enough to accommodate different roles and have the creativity required to come up with attractive displays and organize activities.
A school functions as a team and every classroom should be an optimal machine within the team. Teachers and teaching assistants create a crucial educational team. Everything you do should be coordinated with the teacher. A teacher’s assistant may also work closely with stakeholders like external agencies, parents, the head teacher and teachers.
Numeracy, Writing and Reading Skills
Teaching assistants are expected to have excellent numeracy, writing, reading aloud and communication skills. You are responsible for passing these skills on to the next generation, which means that you need to be qualified for the job.
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