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Become a Teaching Assistant

For some people, their ideal job would mean working with children. Some of us can’t imagine anything worse, but if you know you would enjoy the role and find it personally rewarding, you may like to consider life as a teaching assistant.

Here we are going to give you an introduction to what it would be like to become a teaching assistant, so you can gauge whether to explore this career further.

What does a teaching assistant do?

A teaching assistant typically provides assistance in a number of ways, either in a classroom or in a pre-school learning establishment or crèche (depending on the age of the children). Typically speaking, many training assistants in South Africa work with children up to the age of seven. This is a very important time in a child’s life, and a teaching assistant is required to help them learn about all kinds of things that will help them develop through the rest of their childhood.

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What kind of training is required to become a teaching assistant?

If you look through some of the many positions that are available for teaching assistants in South Africa, you’ll notice the letters ECD keep popping up. ECD stands for Early Childhood Development, and you will need a qualification in this in order to be considered for many of the teaching assistant positions.

There is a level 4 certificate in ECD which is referred to as a National Certificate. This gives you a good grounding in the role and how to work with children to ensure they have a rewarding learning experience. You can if you wish go on to study the level 5 certificate in ECD as well, which is known as a higher certificate. The idea of this certificate is to further enhance your knowledge and experience. It is perfectly possible to attain the level 4 certificate and get a role as a teaching assistant while you study for the higher certificate.

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What jobs are available for teaching assistants and what do they entail?

Many teaching assistants work in South African crèches and pre-school settings. Others may work with young children who have just started school and are taking part in more organised lessons rather than simply enjoying a range of games they can learn from as toddlers.

You may also occasionally see opportunities for teaching assistants who work for individual families. This is most common when the parents work and require a teaching assistant part or full time to provide support and learning assistance for their children. This type of role typically requires you to be more part of the family than simply acting as a teaching assistant. Thus it can require you to have more all round skills in other areas, depending on what the client wants.

If the idea of helping children to learn in their early years appeals to you, the role of a teaching assistant may well appeal to you too. Perhaps this is the first step towards attaining your ECD certificate en route to a new career.

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