Have you thought about teaching assistant work, but don’t know how to get into it? These 5 tips can help you on your way.
1 – Make sure you understand what the job involves
Before considering how to get a job as a teaching assistant, you should first make sure that you know what the job involves. The role of a classroom assistant can vary depending on the level of need of the children in the class, and whether you are working one to one with a particular student, or providing general class support. This blog post can help you to understand these aspects if you’ve not looked into teaching assistant work before.
2 – Decide which part of the sector to target
It is a good idea to decide whether you want to work in a specialist school or unit, or a mainstream school. The role (although very similar in principle) will vary quite a lot from one environment to another. If you feel that you are most suited to working in a mainstream primary or secondary school, this is the area you should target when you apply for voluntary or supply jobs. As a rule of thumb, mainstream schools look for staff who can offer targeted curriculum support, like English/Literacy, Maths/Numeracy or Science, so it’s a good idea to demonstrate an understanding of at least one of these areas. In contrast, many special schools look for staff who have some sort of knowledge, understanding or interest in special needs, so the way you forge a route into the profession may vary depending on where you’d most like to end up. If you need a breakdown of the different types of school out there, it could be useful to look at this recent post.
3 – Polish up your CV
These days, there is a wealth of information out there on how to write a good CV – but you want to make sure that you tailor your CV specifically towards working as a teaching assistant. While it’s true that many schools will be looking for previous teaching assistant experience, it’s not necessarily essential. If you have any experience which displays the qualities of a teaching assistant, you should ensure that you make the most of these on your CV. It might include things like volunteer work, coaching work, charity events or simply supporting friends and family who have children who require additional support. Whatever experience you have, you should do your best to make the most of it on your CV. If you’d like help writing your CV, why not check out our blog?
4 – Volunteer or sign up with an agency
If your CV looks sparse when it comes to experience that lends itself to TA work, you should consider either doing some voluntary work in a local school, or signing up with an agency to do some short-term supply work in order to gain experience in this field. You’d be surprised how much you can learn in just a day, so it’s well worth doing it if school-based work is the way you want to take your career. At Axcis, we often hire people who have limited practical experience, but who we feel fit the profile of an effective TA. After all, we have extensive experience of understanding what schools are looking for. We also provide additional training to those who want to gain personal and professional development relevant to working in schools, so we can help enhance your qualifications as well as experience sections on your CV. If you’d like to know more, why not register online? It takes just a few minutes, is free and will allow you access to a huge range of school-based jobs, which you can start to apply for immediately.
5 – Put in a polished application for permanent jobs
If you’ve been working through an agency, you may find that the schools you do supply work in will offer you longer-term or permanent work. If they don’t, you’ll need to make sure you polish up your application before putting it in for permanent jobs. Don’t make an assumption that because TA jobs are at the lower end of the scale in terms of pay, that they are ten a penny. They are not. In fact, most schools tell us that they have far more applicants for TA positions than they do for teaching roles, so you will have stiff competition. You’ll need to demonstrate the you really want the job, AND have the skills to do it well, so make your application the best that it possibly can be.
Take our quiz and find out if you’d be well suited to TA work
If you’re not sure whether you’d be suited to teaching assistant work or not, why not take our short quiz? Simply answer these 10 questions – it only takes a few minutes!