Back to Blogs

What is the right teaching assistant job for you?

  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author: Leah Baker

Teaching assistant roles are extremely diverse. This is great news for educational staff because it means you can steer your career in the direction that you want.

teaching assistant with students in class

But first, you need to know which direction that is and more simply, what the options are. Around 264,00 teaching assistants are working full-time in the UK – in both SEN and mainstream schools. And that figure doesn’t account for the thousands that work in a supply role. Let’s take a look at these different types of teaching assistant jobs and explore which might be right for you.

Permanent or long-term teaching assistants

Teaching assistants are on hand to help students overcome any difficulties they’re having in the lesson. While the job can involve a lot of one-on-one work, it’s important that teaching assistants don’t focus too much time on one individual as this will limit the time that student interacts with the teacher and the other students. The idea behind helping pupils who are struggling is to ensure that the teacher can spend as much time with all the students as possible. Other ways that teaching assistants can improve student learning is to help to limit disruption in the classroom and review the lesson plans with the teacher.

It goes without saying that empathy is one of the top teaching assistant skills. This will help you understand and build relationships with the pupils, but also with the other teaching staff. Other key teaching assistant skills include patience, resilience, communication and organisation.

Supply teaching assistants

Just as in a permanent or long-term role, teaching assistant working in a supply role provide instrumental support and therefore ensure high-quality teaching. One of the benefits of supply teaching is the flexibility of the job. It’s up to you to decide how much you want to work and therefore many teachers find that supply roles help them achieve a better work-life balance. Plus, by working in different schools you’ll get a feel for which environment you work best in, helping you to decide whether to work in a primary or secondary school, in a larger school or a smaller one.

In a supply teaching assistant job, you’ll adopt the four Cs of education – communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. This approach to teaching will help you prove yourself capable of becoming a higher-level teaching assistant where you may find yourself supervising other support staff. So if this is a role that you can see yourself progressing in, you’ll need to have an aptitude for leadership. Don’t worry if you haven’t got any experience managing others, this is a skill you’ll have the chance to hone throughout your career.

SEN teaching assistants

Fundamentally, a SEN teaching assistant job is the same as any other teaching assistant job. Their role is to enrich a child’s education, but more importantly, SEN teaching assistants play a key role in a child’s personal and social development. Watching children learn has to be one of the most rewarding jobs, but knowing that you’ve provided the support to help them take the next steps, well it doesn’t get much better than that. Even if it’s something minor, like seeing them smile at another student or write their name for the first time, it’s the little milestones that help you see how much of an impact you’re having.

98% of students with special needs are taught in mainstream schools, and because these students are taught alongside students without learning difficulties, SEN teaching assistants play an even more essential role in the classroom. But to improve SEN student outcomes, it’s important to match the right candidate to this environment which is why we have a dedicated Dunbar SEN team who are specialists in the SEND field.

Let our dedicated education consultants help you 

At Dunbar, we love our job. So we make it our mission to help our candidates find the same satisfaction in their career. We have strong relationships with hundreds of primary and secondary schools throughout Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Kent. We also have distinct functions which take care of candidates looking for permanent, long-term and daily supply roles, both in SEN and mainstream settings.

We believe in placing the right candidate in the right environment so you can be sure that our skilled consultants will take the time to understand you personally. We’ll support you at every step of the process, from offering safeguarding and DBS check advice to arranging a pre-interview run through and a follow-up once you’re in your new teaching job. Learn more about our teaching assistant jobs or get in touch today to find out for yourself why you should work with us.

Upload your CV and we’ll be in touch with roles we think are perfect for you.