“ Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a classroom assistant. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession? „
Although I haven't been formally employed as a Classroom Assistant during my college time I've spent over 800 hours in work placements where i take on the role of a classroom assistant which is why I feel I'm qualified to write this review. All my experience is in primary school settings so this is what I will be basing my review upon.
When I return to work this is the job I hope to be doing.
A Classroom Assistant/Teaching Assistants role is basically to provide support and assistance to the teacher. Having worked in some schools where classes always have Teaching Assistants on duty and others where the Teaching Assistant is only contracted for 1 day I've seen how much difference they can make to the class and the Teacher! Duties may include:
-Reducing the Teachers workload i.e. completing paperwork, making resources, photocopies, marking, just being that extra pair of hands.
- Supervising groups of children and doing acitivites with them (and reporting your findings back to the teacher).
- Working 1:1 with specific children.
- Giving extra help to children who need it.
- Assisting with lesson plans.
- Supervising children at lunch or on trips.
- Motivating and encouraging pupils.
=WHAT SKILLS/QUALIFCATIONS ARE REQUIRED=
You don't need qualifications or experience to be a Classroom Assistant but both are an advantage. Obviously good reading, writing and maths skills are desirable.
Patience is a must!
You must have the ability to build good relationships with staff and with children but be able to discipline effectively when need be.
Having a lot of energy is also useful, being a Classroom Assistant is a very demanding job!
You should also have a passion for teaching. Its not particuarly one of those jobs you do for the money!
= CAREER PROGRESSION =
There are routes to progress and many schools in fact offer training opportunities to staff. The most common career move would probably be to become a HLTA (higher level teaching assistant)- this is more hands on than the regular Classroom Assistant they are able to do things such as cover lessons in teachers abscence.
Some Classroom Assistants eventually train up to become qualified Teachers.
= PAY =
The average starting salary for a Classroom Assistant would be between £11k to £15k per year. This would depend on your level of experience, location and how competitive the school are with wages. Some people may wish to start in an unpaid, voluntary position to get more experience.
A more senior position with the relavant experience and/or qualifications could pay between £20k to £25k.
As I have noticed during idle job searches (to see how available vacancies are) many Teaching Assistants work part time, the figures above are for full time Teaching Assistants.
I have a couple of friends who do this job and whether you get paid in the school holidays does depend on the school you're at- some do, some don't!
One of my closest friends is a Classroom Assistant at a special needs school, she fills the school holidays with doing respite work.
= JOB PERKS =
The main perk of this job in my eyes is how rewarding it is. You make a difference each day. That feeling you get when you've taught a child something new is lovely. Also the things children can come out with along with their very unique personalities do put a smile on your face.
Having the school holidays off is also very nice for parents who can spend time with their children and not have to stress so much about childcare.