Not everybody is cut out to be a teacher or wants to take things to that level, but lots of people still love working with children and want to help them realise their potential. Becoming a primary school teaching assistant is a great way to do this.

Responsibilities of a primary school teaching assistant..

This article looks at what the job is actually all about and is designed to help people decide whether or not this challenging but exciting career is right for them. What does working as a teaching assistant involve?

Working with a teacher.

The principal role of teaching assistants is to help with lessons, particularly in basic maths and literacy. This can involve identifying children who seem to be stuck and stepping in to help them, or working with small groups of children who are at risk of falling behind. Sometimes experienced teaching assistants even step in to present lessons to the whole class when the teacher cannot be there, but they do not have to develop the lesson plans.

At all levels, they help the teacher prepare materials for lessons and they help with marking. They also go along on school trips, where they help to supervise the children.

Motivating and inspiring pupils.

One special duty of a teaching assistant is to help those children who are having difficulty engaging with school work. There can never be a fully successful one size fits all approach to learning and whilst the teacher focuses on the class as a whole the assistant can work with those children who need special attention.

Managing behavioural issues.

When children are being disruptive and making things difficult for the rest of the class, it is a teaching assistant’s job to work with them and try to resolve the problem. This could involve identifying an underlying problem with an unsettled home life or a hidden disability and letting the teacher know about it. It could also be as simple as persuading the child that good behaviour can be worthwhile and that learning can be fun.

Teaching assistants may also intervene with withdrawn children who are being bullied or simply finding it difficult to socialise. Being ready to listen and to provide friendly support can make a big difference to children like this.

Making school accessible to all.

The teaching assistant job description also includes the task of making school accessible to children who face practical difficulties. They could be slow learners or could be immigrants who are trying to learn a new language at the same time as taking in the lessons themselves. They may have unusual religious or social backgrounds that make it difficult for them to relate to the way some subjects are presented. They may also have disabilities that mean they need extra support.

Many different options.

Working as a teaching assistant may be many things, but it is never dull! Every class is different, throwing up fresh challenges, and there are opportunities to do further training for those interested in specialising in particular areas. Teaching assistants work closely with teachers to establish the best approach to any group of children and to make sure that they all find school as educational and enjoyable as possible.