Did you know that the 16th September is National Teaching Assistants’ Day? The special day was created to recognise the valuable contribution Teaching Assistants make to children’s education and learning support across the UK. It is a day that schools celebrate their own TAs and nominate their favourites for a Teaching Assistant of the Year Award! In preparation for the day, i-teachers are going to be focusing our blogs around the wonderful work of TA’s and support workers – starting with our summary of the 5 key strengths of teaching assistants!
Teaching assistants are known for going above and beyond to help in the classroom. This can include helping to set up the classroom for the day ahead, creating any learning aids required by the teacher, thinking of engaging activities for the children to do and continually observing the students every day to ensure that everyone is learning, happy and safe. There is no doubt that the dedication shown by teaching assistants make them the backbone of any classroom. They help the teacher make sure that every student has the support that they require for their lessons.
Teaching assistants recognise that all children learn at different speeds and that some students will need that little bit of extra help and guidance. As a classroom TA, you’ll be on hand to guide them through the lesson and with any extra help that child needs.
Passion and energy
Working with children is a rewarding and fulfilling career. However, it will sometimes come with its challenges. A TA’s duties vary from day to day and of course, no classroom is complete without the occasional temper tantrum. It is the pure passion for working with children and wanting to develop the mindset of the future generation that helps teaching assistants get through when things get a little tough. Their positive, can-do attitude teaches their students a valuable life lesson and helps them to develop their own outlook on life too.
Being a fantastic communicator is one of the main strengths of a teaching assistant. Teaching assistants often work with students on a 1:1 or small group basis and this is normally with the students who require that little bit of extra help with their learning. A major strength of teaching assistants is their ability to communicate effectively with students in order to tailor their learning to them in the best possible way. TAs learn and adapt to each individual student and tailor their communication style to them in order to better understand and work cohesively with the child.
Communicating with students is important but TAs are also required to effectively communicate with parents, guardians and teachers. Building a rapport with students and parents alike is so important – the latter need to be safe in the knowledge that they’re able to provide the best education possible.
Flexible and adaptable
Teaching assistants are flexible and adaptable in so many different ways. TAs are flexible in the way they are able to change their teaching approach to fit each different student and their learning styles/needs. TAs will listen to and learn as much about their students as they can in order to perfectly adapt their resources and communication styles with each one – all with the aim of allowing the student to learn in the most positive and effective manner. Not only this, teaching assistants adapt to the ebb and flow of every lesson. While the best-laid plans of a lesson can go right, they can sometimes go awry. As such, teaching assistants have the strength of adapting to how the teacher provides the lesson. One minute they will be attending to a student individually, the next they will be leading a small group. Being able to adapt is a key strength of a teaching assistant.
Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of a teaching assistant is their high level of initiative. Teaching won’t always stick to a script and if the teacher has their hands full or needs to leave the lesson for any reason, TAs are great at using their initiative to support the class. Whether this includes creating an activity on the spot or temporarily taking over the teaching role for a lesson or two, teaching assistants are always ready to jump in and use their initiative to benefit the students.
How can i-teachers help you to become a teaching assistant?
At i-teachers, we specialise in placing talented graduates in Graduate Teaching Assistant roles in a wide variety of subject areas. We work with a wide range of Primary, Secondary and SEN specialist schools across the UK to provide you the perfect role in the perfect environment.
i-teachers Step into Teaching programme
At i-teachers, we aim to support you and allow you to explore teaching roles with our ‘Step into Teaching’ programme to support all graduate roles in education. Our experienced education consultants will place you in a paid teaching assistant position that is perfectly suited to your skill set, in a school that suits your personality. We believe that practical experience is invaluable and learning from teaching experts is key. On your ‘step into teaching’ programme you will get to experience the life of a teacher or teaching assistant, and truly impact the lives of pupils, whilst in a fully supportive environment. It is fantastic work experience both for your own personal development as well as for your CV, and you can earn whilst you learn!