Want to Work School Hours? Train to Become a Teaching Assistant

Want to work school hours?

Juggling childcare and a job is a nightmare for most parents. When they are little and in nursery, at least there is an early drop off and late collection! We might complain about the fees but it does usually fit round a normal working day. The trouble really starts when they go to school! 9-3pm may suit teachers but not anyone in a ‘normal’ job… and let’s not even mention the endless school holidays. And of course, we all want to be able to spend more quality, family time with our children and not feel like life is a constant balancing act.

The obvious solution is to find a job that works with school hours and holidays. This is the point where many people think about finding a job in a school. Becoming a Teaching Assistant is a rewarding and fulfilling career. There is nothing more satisfying as seeing a child learn a new skill or grow in confidence and knowing that you have helped them on that journey.

What do I need to become a teaching assistant?

• A genuine interest in working with children and young people

• Warmth and empathy

• Great communication skills with both children and adults

• Good English and maths skills (there’s nothing worse than being corrected by one of the children!)

• Be able to work hard and use your initiative

• A sense of humour (You’re going to need it!)

Where do I start?

There is lots of competition for employment in schools, so your application needs to stand out.

1. Volunteer – If you have no previous experience, think about volunteering at your child’s school. This has two benefits, firstly you can see if this is really the career for you; the reality is not always what you imagine! Secondly, it will give you relevant experience to list on your application and CV.

2. Get qualified – it is important to get the qualification that schools want. Don’t pay for the cheapest online course you can find as these not what schools are looking for. If you are a volunteer then you should enrol on a qualification that includes ‘occupational competence’ because this is what schools are really looking for.

3. What course should I do? If you have no experience working in schools or with children, then you can start with Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching & Learning (don’t sign up for an Award – this is not enough!) If you have some experience, then you could enrol on the Level 3 Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning.