6 Awesome Reasons Why You Should Do a Teaching Assistant Course
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Becoming a teaching assistant can be one of the most rewarding jobs on the market, where you will be making a positive difference in the lives of young people. If you can remember the teachers who made your classroom fun and interesting and how much you owe them and their influence – now that great teaching assistant could be you!
Here are 6 awesome reasons why you should take a teaching assistant course.
1. It’s not a typical 9-5
Being a teaching assistant is not an average job with a predictable workload. Whilst you will most likely be working in a school and therefore working around scheduled school office hours, a teaching assistant is not one of your more typical 9-5 jobs behind a desk. In fact, your tasks and duties are likely to change daily: as students are constantly evolving and learning new things, so will your workload constantly evolve and change; one day you could be the teaching assistant helping students with their maths and science, the next day you could be supervising school trips to the local history museum.
No matter what age group you teach, whether it be primary school or high school, your work will be varied and wide-ranging, meaning you’ll never be bored at work.
2. Making a positive difference
Making a difference to young people’s lives is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your career, and studying education to become a teaching assistant is one of the jobs where making a positive difference is baked into the cake.
Not only is working with young people incredibly fulfilling but being a teaching assistant often means working with students with special educational needs, helping to build their confidence and keep them up to pace with their classmates. Of course, in a general teaching assistant role, you will be providing extra support to all the students and the classroom teacher, but the help and the impact that you will make on the students who need it most will be both personally and professionally rewarding, and what could be better than going home after a day of hard work, knowing that you impacted positively on the lives of others?
3. Kick-start your teaching career
Starting out as a teacher’s assistant can be a stepping-stone to a career in childcare, teaching, or even taking another course related to education or childcare. As mentioned above, there are opportunities to work with students with learning difficulties, known as a Special Educational Needs (SEN) assistant, or as a Higher Level teaching assistant, where your tasks and responsibilities are elevated and often more focalised on certain subjects and students.
A teaching assistant’s course can also be a stepping-stone to other forms of work in the domain of education or childhood development: you could go on to take a diploma in childcare or early childhood learning, as well as build your way up to a principle teaching position with all the classroom experience under your belt. With a teaching assistant’s course, there are endless paths to advance your teaching career and aid your professional development.
4. Flexible hours and holidays
It’s a known cliché that teachers get the best holidays, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. For the most part, the school office hours and the frequency of holidays during the school year mean that those with young families are able to still work full-time or part-time, with their children in school or nursery and the holidays off together.
The office hours of a teaching assistant will of course vary depending on the school – some high schools might start at 8am and finish at 4:30pm, whereas some primary schools might be closed for the night by 3pm – some private schools might even hold classes during the weekends. But either way, in a teaching assistant role it is highly unlikely that there will be long nights stuck at the office until the small hours – perhaps just on parents’ evening!
5. Variety and versatility
In a teaching assistant role, you will never be stuck studying just one subject over and over again. Whether it be primary or secondary level, you will be helping students in all subjects: English, maths, art, science and history, to name a few. This variety is not only stimulating for the brain and your own productivity, but it also makes it a perfect job for those who have never been drawn specifically into one subject but who still like the idea of teaching; those who find themselves enamoured both with English and maths, or those who can’t choose between art and science.
In a teaching assistant role you will most likely be helping with all these subjects and working with all ages, one day assisting with maths tests, the other day supervising sport’s games or school trips as part of the school support staff. It’s the perfect job for those with versatile skills who like responsibility and making a positive difference.
6. Accessible to all
One great aspect of being a teaching assistant is that it is accessible to almost everyone; it does not require a bachelor’s degree nor extensive A-levels, GSCEs or Highers; to enrol on a teaching assistant course and begin your teaching career. You need simply some literacy and numeracy skills and the time available to take a teaching assistant course (or several!)
These courses range from Level 2 to Level 3 certificates and diplomas: for example a Level 3 Teaching Assistant Diploma, or a Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. What course you take will depend on your circumstances, and what you personally wish to achieve as you begin your new career.
Many Teaching Assistant courses can be taken online or via distance learning, as well as full-time and part-time, making it a great option for those who live in remote places, those who already work but want to kick-start their career in a new direction, and for those who do not have extensive academic records to go through the university route. Ultimately, if you want to begin your teaching career, a teaching assistant course is one of the most flexible and accessible paths to doing so.
Overall, a teaching assistant course can be the ideal stepping-stone into a career in education: it is accessible to almost every academic background, nor no matter where you are currently in your career. The role of education is as important today as it has ever been, and as a teaching assistant, you can make all the difference!
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