Interview with a Teaching Assistant

1-2 minutes

With 3 in 10 of the school workforce in England made up of Teaching Assistants, it’s clear that they play a vital role in the education system. 

Assisting the teacher to deliver lessons (which frees up the teacher to teach or plan), Teaching Assistants are pivotal to help young people with their educational and social development, both in and out of the classroom. 

If you’re considering a career as a Teaching Assistant, we recently caught up with a Teaching Assistant from the North West of England to get advice from somebody who knows the ins and outs of working in a school. 

We delved into the personal attributes which will help you to thrive as a Teaching Assistant, what a day to day in the classroom looks like and the pros and cons of working in the education sector. 


How did you decide you wanted to work in the education industry?

From a young age, I’ve always had a great interest in education and a love of children. My sister was a Teacher and as a teenager, I had the opportunity to help in her class. I knew then that working in education was my chosen career path.


What advice would you give to someone looking to become a Teaching Assistant? 

Before going into this field of work, I’d recommend going into various settings as a volunteer or trying agency work with Spencer Clarke Group. 

This way, you can get a real insight of the job and have the experience of being with different aged children before deciding what suits you and your skills.


What is your proudest career achievement to date? 

After many years of working as a Teaching Assistant, I have loads of special moments to look back on, even if it’s just being able to help out a child who has been upset. 

I think the memory that makes me feel proudest was the mother of a child in school telling me I had looked after her as a child and that she remembered me helping her when she was going through a phase of not wanting to go to school and being upset. 

She told me that I would console her when she was upset and look after her in the playground. It was so nice to know that what I did for her as a child helped and that she still remembers this as an adult, many years later! 

 

What has your career path looked like up until this point?

As a teenager, I had a summer job in a nursery and then when I left school I was hoping to become a teacher, but I struggled to get the grades I needed. I then found out about a full time, two year course to become a Teaching Assistant. 

This was the next best thing and I’m glad I went for it as I have loved my long career ever since. I then worked in a mainstream school but when I had my family, I went back part time to a private nursery. When my family was older, I went back to mainstream primary schools.

I have recently decided to leave this role to help look after my grandchildren and work part time for Spencer Clarke Group. I am able to let them know when I’m available to teach and this works around my other commitments, which is ideal for me in the twilight years of my career!


Which of your personal attributes have helped you throughout your career as a Teaching Assistant so far? 

To work with children, you need to have a great sense of humour, a love of play, patience, to be kind, to be caring, to be able to use your initiative, to have good communication skills, to be a team player and most of all, to have eyes in the back of your head! 

 

What does a typical working day as a Teaching Assistant involve? 

I love the job as no two days are the same. You need to have a good relationship with your colleagues and under the direction of the teacher, work as a team to deliver the best for the children in your care. 

I’ve mainly worked in Early Years as a Level 3 Teaching Assistant and the curriculum is based around Continuous Provision, which is learning through play. 

You have to be able to follow the children’s lead, which could be anything from flying in space one minute to playing Mum’s and Dad’s the next. 

There are many other elements to the day such as phonics, Maths, writing, reading, arts and crafts, PE, role play, construction, water and sand play, snack and dinner time, playtime, trips out, writing up observations and liaising with parents and carers. 

Every minute is a learning opportunity. It’s always busy so there’s never a dull moment in the classroom!


Is there anything you wish you knew about being a Teaching Assistant before you started?

I don’t think I was prepared for how much the children become a part of your life and that you are always spending your own time thinking of, looking for and planning ways to help and extend their learning further.

 

If you could make one change within the education industry, what would it be and why?

Paper work! Sometimes it feels like I’m doing more of that than actually being present with the children. However, in the last couple of years these things have been recognised within schools and there’s more support in place now to help with this. 

 

What is your favourite thing about being a Teaching Assistant?

The children! It’s such a privilege to be a part of their lives, getting to know them, their interests and having fun with them day to day. There’s no better sound in the world than children’s laughter and if that’s down to you, then even better!

 

What is your least favourite thing about being a Teaching Assistant?

There’s never enough time in a day. I feel like I never get through the list of things to do but I always remember that there is always tomorrow!


Who is Spencer Clarke Group? 

Since 2017, we've been changing the face of recruitment. From our employees, to the way we do business, to the culture within our office, we're determined to make a difference and create a positive impact on everyone around us.

Recruitment to us isn't just about matching candidates and clients; we’re passionate about finding candidates the perfect job which has the ability to boost their salary and standard of living, better their work life balance and improve their mental health. 

Similarly, we understand the impact which an experienced and skilled employee can make to a business and we love seeing clients thrive through the hard work of candidates which we have placed with them. 

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

Public Sector 

In eleven specialisms:

Accountancy & Finance

Education & SEND

Construction, Trades & Labour

Healthcare, Social Care & Nursing

Housing

Corporate Functions & Business Support

HR & Workforce Development

IT & Digital

Property & Asset Management  

Planning, Development & Regeneration 

Highways, Infrastructure & Engineering

If you’re searching for a new role, why not visit our job page to take a look at the latest opportunities? Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our experienced consultants will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available. 

If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help? One of our consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you.

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