5 Core Skills You Need to Excel as a Teaching Assistant

As you’re probably aware, to become a teaching assistant, it’s going to take skills, but the skills you need will vary outside of the ones required to be a teacher. As a teacher, you’ll have the responsibility of maintaining educational standards, in line with the teachers’ curriculum.

As a teaching assistant, it’s part of your role to help the teachers meet their standard of education to their pupils. Your role is just as vital as that of the classroom teacher, and to do that takes a few essential skills. You are going to need the skills as…

  • When you think of all the people who study teaching, drop out and settle for being assistants
  • Then combine that with the people who set out originally to become TAs, in the first place
  • Then add onto that, other careers that have nursery nurses (as an example), advancing their careers to be a TA

…It makes for a highly competitive industry! That’s where having the right skills, training and mindset will put you ahead of the rest of all other applicants, and get you started in this career.

5 Core Skills You Need to Excel as a Teaching Assistant

5 Essential Skills a Teaching Assistant will need

1.     Creativity

Pupils tend to get bored fast with some topics, so being able to come to the table with creativity, gives you an uncanny ability to bring fun into learning. The more enjoyably you can make the learning experience for students, the more effectively they’ll learn the things they need to too.

Creatively thinking about alternative teaching methods, lets you plan out lessons methodically, and put together both group based activities, classroom activities, and some learning activities, you could perhaps use with a pupil who requires additional support, and come up with ways to help improve their learning.

2.     Build and maintain relationships

You shouldn’t neglect this area on your applications for teaching assistant jobs, as it’s something that schools require. As a TA, you’ll need to build strong relationships with other teachers, communicating well, so you know what areas they need the most assistance with, in their classes.

As well as building relationships with your co-workers, you also have to do the same with your pupils.

On top of that, outside of the classroom, you may be required to speak to parents, informing them of how their son/daughter is performing with their education. Perhaps making suggestions for things that can be done at home, to assist their learning furthermore.

3.     Knowledge of basic computing

Due to the increasing demand in technology, part of the curriculum now focuses on teaching kids computing. It’s required later in life, for not only job requirements, but also just to fill out applications or even to find work.

Starting in primary, kids are taught the basics of using computers, so a teaching assistant, who is skilled in computer functions, as well having a good ability to teach, will play an essential part to educating children on the basic use of computers, in a classroom environment.

4.     A sense of humour

Kids learn best when their having fun, and the best way to bring fun into the classroom is to teach with humour.

A great skill for teaching assistants is to combine creativity with humour, through story telling. Coming up with a story that has a touch of humour in it, can be the difference between a pupil struggling to understand the lesson, and having that “A-HA” moment when they finally get it, and…remember it.

5.     Managing classroom behaviour

Classrooms can become hectic in a flash, as behaviour is contagious. It only takes one pupil to become mischievous and that can take a ripple effect on others in the class. You have to be constantly aware of pupils’ behaviour, and be able to bring things into a civilised learning environment, and let your pupils know that misbehaviour won’t be tolerated. It affects their learning and all your other pupils, so you will have to be good at managing the behaviour of all students and maintaining a good learning environment.

Behaviour management is something that many a teaching assistant will struggle with, but the ones who are good at this, tend to have the qualities of good relationship building, which gets them the respect of their pupils.

For those who possess the 5 skills above, there’s a bountiful career awaits you as a teaching assistant.