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I'm thinking of becoming a Teaching Assistant....

(12 Posts)
Tw1nkle Sat 23-Jan-16 18:37:25

....Should I get a qualification?
....How easy is it to get work experience?
....Should I get work experience?
....How likely is it I'll get a job in the first 12 months of trying?
....Any advice welcome!

Wolfiefan Sat 23-Jan-16 18:39:24

What experience do you have?
Do you have a relevant background?
Have you worked with young people before?
Secondary or primary?

Tw1nkle Sat 23-Jan-16 18:46:00

Hi - I'm currently a childminder.
I'd prefer Primary, but would also happily consider secondary.
I'd also like to specialise in SEN if possible.

HeyMacWey Sat 23-Jan-16 18:49:21

Don't worry about a qualification for now.
Do you have children at school at the moment? If so try volunteering as a parent helper for a term or two to get experience with different age groups.

MabelSideswipe Sat 23-Jan-16 18:55:23

I am currently volunteering as an SEN TA in a secondary school. I have had the same training and mentoring as a paid TA. It is hard work and has been a real eye opener. The TA's are open about how hard it is for little money too.

I had no desire to be a TA when I volunteered but we shall see how it goes. I would recommend volunteering first as it will give you a big advantage.

Isthatwhatdemonsdo Sat 23-Jan-16 20:33:31

I'm a TA in a primary school. I think you should volunteer first to see if you like it.The pay is crap though.

madwomanbackintheattic Sat 23-Jan-16 20:47:03

I did it relatively easily. Have degree and left one career when I had kids. Volunteered in school as reading buddy for a couple of years. My youngest has cerebral palsy, so I was involved with a lot of pan-disability parent and community groups (volunteered on boards/ volunteer management/ president etc).
I heard of a vacancy at our local secondary and picked up an LSA job.

As others have said, the pay is crap. I also found it extremely wearing in that you are dealing with a terrible system, and the support that any given child NEEDS is very often not what you have the time or resources to provide. So while you are desperate to be able to make a difference, you are often unable to achieve what is needed. It can be monumentally depressing.

I should add this was a great school, with a fantastic learning support base. Just overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of pupils requiring support, and not enough time and money to ensure it was carried out. Some classes I would be supporting one child, others I would be supporting 7 or 8, with varying needs. The teachers were fantastic, and doing their level best to support everyone's needs, but there was just no way to ensure every child met their potential. Gutting.

I loved it, and was making a difference where I could. But it was impossible to do everything that was needed and that was hard.

Geraniumred Sun 24-Jan-16 13:41:25

I agree with madwoman. Do it but realise you will be working within a massively inefficient system that is breaking round the edges. The staff are wonderful and the children can be rewarding.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sun 24-Jan-16 13:45:43

Madwoman has it spot on. It's quite a depressing state of affairs and so very frustrating. You need to go into it eyes wide open. Kids are brilliant though. System (and lack of funding) stinks.

bloodyteenagers Sun 24-Jan-16 14:02:13

Qualifications - math and English GCSEs a-c or equivalent are required in most if not all schools.

Work experience- how easy depends on the area. Some schools are crying for help. Others have waiting lists.

Getting job - depends on how many are advertised and how many applications and what you can bring others cannot.

It is hard work. It is underpaid. Some schools are better than others in terms of support and well being for staff.

Sen really do and try to get some volunteering done. The reality can be that it is very physical with the amount of chair changes (even with hoists). Physical and emotional abuse from students. We have had staff who after a term quit because they under estimated just how exhausting it can be.

Lack of time and resources can also be
Demotivating. Sometime a simple piece of equipment or software will make all the difference but there's no money.

Geraniumred Sun 24-Jan-16 14:07:52

Decide early on if you want to work with Sen or more as a general class assistant. Working with Sen can be exceptionally tough.

Doraemon Tue 26-Jan-16 19:08:03

I am a former childminder and now TA based mainly in Foundation stage. If you have been working with EYFS already as a childminder then you are well positioned for Reception class TA roles. The money is indeed crap - once you pro-rata it I barely earn any more than I did childminding and I wasn't even doing that full time. And it's exhausting. Childminding was exhausting too, but personally I found the pace of school and the higher ratios made it more tiring. But I was lonely as a childminder.
I got my job initially covering a maternity contract then was kept on when that contract ended.

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