Teaching assistants work with both students and teachers in a school setting. Some of the things teaching assistants are responsible for include assisting teachers with instruction and providing learning support to students in the classroom.
They may assist with supervising the children, help students with particular difficulties, prepare lessons, monitor behaviour, and manage paperwork. Just like teachers, teaching assistants must have certain skills in order to be successful.
To see if a career as a teaching assistant is right for you, here are six teaching assistant skills that you should have:
1. Organizational Skills
Part of the duties of a teaching assistant is helping to prepare classroom instruction. To do this effectively, you must have excellent organizational skills to help you with advanced planning. Since you will be engaging in lots of paperwork, like grading work and taking attendance, organizational skills are a key skill for any teaching assistant.
This will also help you stay on top of your work since you will be required to plan lessons and update plans on a daily basis. Staying organized will make all the difference in your work and help you be the best teaching assistant you can be.
2. Communication Skills
Communication is the foundation of all teaching assistant skills. As a teaching assistant, you will be required to communicate with lots of different people like teachers, students, parents, and other educational staff. To do this, you must possess superior communication skills. This will help you effectively disseminate information to other teachers, students, and their parents.
Since teaching assistants are constantly communicating with students as they provide learning support, being a good communicator is an essential skill of this profession. Information needs to be articulated clearly to students, so they can understand. You can improve in your communication skills through education assistant courses and on-the-job training.
Not only must you be good at oral communication, but you must be good at written communication as well since a large part of your job involves paperwork. It’s also important that you be a good listener so that you can easily understand instructions from teachers and be able to clearly understand what students are telling you.
3. Teamwork Skills
As a teaching assistant, you are part of a larger team. This team consists of teachers, principals, and other educational workers. To work effectively with others, you will need to be a good team player that is flexible and willing to work with others.
This will make your job so much easier. Since you will be responsible for working with teachers on lesson plans, you must possess good teamwork skills. No one wants to work with a teaching assistant that is uncooperative and insists on doing things one way.
Also, since you will be working under a teacher, you will need to be able to easily take instruction and be flexible when it comes to how you do things in the classroom.
4. Literacy & Numeracy Skills
As a teaching assistant, you will need good literacy skills to help you develop lesson plans, read to children, and help children develop their own literacy skills.
The same goes for numeracy skills. You will need this skill to grade math work submitted by students, work on lesson plans, and help children with their numeracy skills.
Patience is so important when it comes to working with students, especially young children. They will most likely need you to repeat things as they learn new skills or work on new projects. The more patient and attentive you can be to their needs and their ability to learn, the easier your job will be.
Remember that all students learn at their own pace, so the more patient you can be the better.
Since you will also be dealing with all types of behaviours from your students, some days will be more trying than others. Good patience will come in handy for these days when your students may be giving you a bit of a harder time.
6. Enjoy Working with Children
One of the most important things when it comes to being a teaching assistant is enjoying working with children. This is an absolute must as you will be required to be friendly with your students and as we mentioned above, have lots of patience.
Your job will be that much more fulfilling if you have a genuine interest in working with children, teaching them new skills, and helping them develop.
Do you think you have the skills it requires to become a teaching assistant? If you have excellent organizational skills, superior communication skills, and the ability to be a good team player, among other things, you will probably be a very successful teaching assistant. Having these skills will give you a good foundation to build further skills upon once you pursue an education in this field.
We wish you the best of luck if you decide to pursue this career!