For those who love to work with children, ensuring they get the best education possible, and ultimately get the best start to their adult lives, a career as a teaching assistant is the next best thing to do, other than becoming a teacher.
Not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of a teacher though and you may prefer to support pupils understand the core lessons being taught by their teachers. The role’s more for learning support purposes than it is geared towards teaching.
As a TA, you can be assisting teachers with individual pupils, requiring additional support with their tuition.
Additional responsibilities could be in supported learning within special needs schools. For those who have the skills, qualifications, and expertise in the field, who would like to take on additional responsibilities, without being tied to teaching, there’s the option to become an HLTA, and take on additional responsibilities.
Before you can become an HLTA, you will need to speak to the head of the school you’re employed with, so you can get their approval before you can have your assessment carried out. Upon approval by the head teacher, and discussions pertaining to funding, you’ll have to undertake additional training to become an HLTA, gaining at minimum Level 2 and above for numeracy and literature.
Prior to that, the head teacher will consult with other colleagues in order to identify key areas for further development. This will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, in order to gain further training that will focus on developing areas identified as requiring additional training.
Once you have the relevant qualifications, have undergone your half-day assessment to gain the status of a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, you’ll then be able to move into a more specialist field of interest to you.
Once you’ve gained the status of a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, you’ll have the first benefit of the obvious higher salary, for the increased amount of responsibilities you’ll have, on your shoulders.
Beyond that though, in terms of the work you do, you’ll be more in demand in any school setting.
Teachers have a wide array of paper work they need to do, and not all their days are spent actually teaching. As an HLTA, you can assist teachers at a higher level, as well as students. You can find yourself teaching on different topics, or specialising in one particular topic. This frees up the teachers time more to get their administrative tasks completed. In the terms of employment benefits, you’ll rarely find yourself out of work.
There’s a wide array of vacancies for Teaching Assistants, and with an HLTA status, you can approach schools with a high degree of confidence, that you’re capable and qualified for the job. There aren’t going to as many HLTA vacancies advertised, but the reason for that is because the vacancies go to those already employed within the school as a TA. It lets you go into employment at any level, and progress your career internally, which will help you stay in one job, rather than working on various short-term temporary assignments, and get yourself into a full-time vacancy.
One other additional advantage that you may want to focus on is having the ability to work one-on-one, with a pupil throughout their education. Supporting them from their first year in secondary, right through their exams, when you’ll finally be able to see the fruits of your labour unfold, when they pass with flying colours, knowing that it’s your learning support services, that’s helped them achieve their success and got the best start to their adult lives.