What does a teaching assistant do?

01/08/2022 | All

There are so many rewarding jobs in education and each one plays a significant role in the academic and personal development of young people. In most classrooms, the Teacher plays a pivotal role in educating a class of students, however the role of a Teaching Assistant is crucial! So, what does a teaching assistant do? We have put together a blog packed full of information on what a teaching assistant does, the importance of TA’s and what qualities make them so important!

What is a Teaching Assistant?

A Teaching Assistant’s main responsibility is supporting students on a close basis both in and out of the classroom. Their role is to ensure that students get the most out of their personal development and school life. They work one-to-one with pupils, as well as in groups, while also supporting the Teacher in delivering lessons and activities. 

Teaching assistants can be found in a wide variety of subjects and school environments. For example:

  • Primary School Teaching Assistant 
  • Secondary School Teaching Assistant 
  • Subject Specific – e.g. Maths Teaching Assistant, Science Teaching Assistant 
  • SEN Teaching Assistant 

The importance of Teaching Assistants

Teaching assistants really do play a significant role in educating students. A teacher is tasked with the responsibility of imparting knowledge and ensuring that pupils learn their subjects in a secure teaching environment. This responsibility covers a wide scope of tasks and sometimes, the teacher is unable to oversee every single task themselves. This is where teaching assistants come in. They play a key role in supporting the teacher to ensure that students get the maximum benefit from the learning activities that the Teacher plans and carries out for them. 

What qualities make a Teaching Assistant so important?

There is no doubt that students learn best in a safe, happy and nurturing environment. A teacher needs help in everything that they do, inside and outside of the classroom, to create and maintain this kind of setting. 

To perform well as a Teaching Assistant, you need to be able to:

  • Build relationships – trust is crucial between a pupil and a TA in order to really gain the most productivity from the student. It is also essential to cultivate relationships with staff and parents
  • Work as part of a team – while teaching assistant courses can teach you about pupil development, it cannot teach you how to work well with others. You will be working closely with teachers in the classroom and other staff outside of the classroom, so you must be able to work within a team!
  • Communicate effectively – as a TA you will be interacting with different personalities and types of people constantly, ranging from pupils to parents. It is essential that you know how to communicate with diverse groups of individuals.
  • Stay dedicated – If you have asked yourself ‘what do you need to be a teaching assistant?’; one of the main personality traits is passion! Working in education can be fast-paced and challenging, so it is important to love what you do. 

What are the day-to-day duties of a Teaching Assistant?

As a Teaching Assistant , you will usually be expected to be in school for normal school hours Monday – Friday. However, there may be times you will be expected to come into school early and finish later – such as involvement in extracurricular activities. No two working days will be the same and your day-to-day schedule is likely to be extremely varied. 

Day-to-day duties are likely to differ depending on whether your role is supporting Primary, Secondary or SEN students and also depending on the subject specialism you are supporting. However, typically duties include:

  • Supporting pupils on both a 1:1 and small group basis in and out of the classroom
  • Helping teachers to create and adapt classroom resources
  • Learning to adapt to individual students’ needs 
  • Running intervention sessions 
  • Providing cover or assisting in teaching a class when required to
  • Assisting with the running of extracurricular activities 
  • Delivering mini-lessons to students and explaining certain concepts
  • Helping to monitor and feedback student progression to staff and parents 
  • Supporting teachers with general admin
  • Supervising breaks/lunches/school trips
  • Create engaging and immersive learning resources

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!

Take a look at some of our current Graduate Teaching Assistant roles now, or contact us for more information!