The role of a teaching assistant in a well-run school is so popular that getting such a job can be competitive. However, the effort is well worthwhile. There are many things you can do to increase your chances of securing the position, from getting your job search right to gaining new qualifications. Here are some tips and hints to prepare you for the job application process and a career in education.
How much does a teaching assistant get paid?
The typical salary for a full-time teaching assistant can range from anywhere between £13,000 to £21,000 per year. A part-time teaching assistant receives a pro rata payment usually. There are no National Pay Scales for teaching assistants, with each Local Education Authority setting the rates at their discretion. Local authority schools use local Government pay scales to pay their support staff and the rates of pay can often vary, depending on the particular responsibilities.
Teaching assistants in private schools are often employed on a term-time only basis and paid for the weeks they work. Some private schools use the local Government pay scale as the basis for paying support staff. They also increase salaries by the local government pay award each year.
Teaching assistants could be responsible for various tasks, including managing classroom behaviour, helping pupils who may need extra help and support to complete tasks and making a positive contribution to the learning environment.
What are the duties of a teaching assistant?
Teacher assistants typically do the following:
- Reinforce lessons presented by teachers by reviewing material with students one-on-one or in small groups
- Enforce school and class rules to help teach students proper behavior
- Help teachers with recordkeeping, such as tracking attendance and calculating grades
- Help teachers prepare for lessons by getting materials ready or setting up equipment, such as computers
- Help supervise students in class, between classes, during lunch and recess, and on field trips
Teaching assistants also are called teacher aides, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, education assistants and paraeducators. Generally, teachers introduce new material to students, and teaching assistants help reinforce the lessons by working with individual students or small groups of students. For example, after the teacher presents a lesson, a teacher assistant may help a small group of students as they try to master the material.
Teachers may seek feedback from assistants to monitor students’ progress. Some teachers and teacher assistants meet regularly to discuss lesson plans and student development. Teacher assistants sometimes help teachers by grading tests and checking homework. Some teaching assistants work only with special education students. These students often attend regular classes, and teacher assistants help them understand the material and adapt the information to their learning style.
With students who have more severe disabilities, assistants will be required to work with them in separate classes. Teaching assistants help these students with basic needs, such as eating or personal hygiene. With young adults, they may help students with disabilities learn skills necessary for them to find a job or live independently after graduation. Some teaching assistants work in specific locations in the school. For example, some work in computer laboratories, teaching students how to use computers and helping them use software. Others work as recess or lunchroom attendants, supervising students during these times of the day.
Although most teaching assistants work in elementary, middle, and high schools, others work in preschools and childcare centers. Often, one or two assistants work with a lead teacher to provide the individual attention that young children need. They help with educational activities. They also supervise the children at play and help with feeding and other basic care.