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Teaching Assistant Jobs
If you are thinking about becoming a teaching assistant it is worth exploring the opportunities available in this field prior to getting any training. It will enable you to work out the kind of position you would like to work in and thus will make it easier to ensure you have the right qualifications.
Teaching Assistant Jobs Varieties
Here are some examples of the most common variations of teaching assistant jobs that you will see in the job market in South Africa today.
This is the most common position you will see. It is a role that supports a teacher in a particular class. You will find positions available with all kinds of age groups, so you must think about which age group you would be most suited to. For example some people prefer working with pre-schoolers whereas others are happier working with children who have reached school age. Once you know which age group appeals most, you can start looking for the most appropriate jobs.
This is a slightly different role but it does pop up occasionally. You will typically work in a college or similar situation and instead of supporting a teacher you will support a head of department. As such, while you will be involved in the world of education in an assistant sense, you will not work directly with children or young adults. Instead your role will be more to provide support behind the scenes. This does suit some people more, so it may be worth thinking about.
Assistant in a crèche
This role may also be referred to as a teaching assistant or teacher assistant, but it will focus on helping with very young children, perhaps those who are only a year or two old. This information should be indicated in the details of any job advert you find, to distinguish it from positions offered in schools. As you can imagine the tasks you will undertake as an assistant in a crèche will be very different from those you would perform in a school classroom. Instead of helping with specific lessons you will help with other more basic learning activities. You may also be required to assist with feeding and nappy changing.
Focus on identifying the age group you are best able to work with
Although you will be assisting a teacher rather than taking full responsibility for the learning process, you still need to make sure you are applying for teaching assistant jobs that are right for you. For example if you have plenty of experience working with toddlers, this would be a more natural choice than to apply for teaching assistant jobs at schools.
One final opportunity you may wish to consider is that of a teaching assistant who works for a family rather than a school. You will sometimes see a job advert from a private individual looking to hire someone to help out with their children. The requirements of these adverts can vary markedly so make sure you examine them carefully and think about whether this particular type of teaching assistant role would suit you before you apply.