January 10th, 2013
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5 Facts About Being an Assistant Teacher that Might Surprise You
So are you thinking about becoming an assistant teacher? Teaching assistants have a very challenging role but many find it very rewarding to work in this profession. It does pack in some surprises though, some of which you may not have considered or known about before. Here is some more information that may be of use to you in this respect.
1: there is a vast salary range for teaching assistants
It is incredibly difficult to get an accurate average salary for teaching assistants in South Africa. One website gave the lowest salary as R12685 and the highest as R94164 so there is clearly a huge disparity here. It is more likely that some of these referred to teaching positions rather than assistant teaching positions. At the lower end of the scale some may also be part time, as many positions of this nature do exist.
2: teaching assistants in crèches and nurseries will perform very different tasks
If you get work as a teaching assistant in a crèche you will be assisting with very young children of perhaps a year or two in age. Here your duties may involve changing nappies and also helping with feeding, as well as assisting with more basic learning activities. Clearly children who have reached school age will require a very different approach and will take on more advanced tasks to bolster their learning skills.
3: you need to have a high degree of patience
This should go without saying – not every child is an angel! The best teaching assistants are able to assist and support children as they go through the learning process. Training will help to develop these skills in your repertoire, but a good degree of patience is needed right from the start too.
4: experience is almost as important (if not equally so) as qualifications
Of course you will need qualifications in order to become a teaching assistant. The one most commonly requested is the ECD level 4 certificate. However even if you have this and other qualifications to help you apply for a teaching assistant position, you will still be expected to have experience in the area. So work on this as well as attaining the qualifications you need.
5: salaries can vary depending on where in South Africa you work
Normally, salaries will be higher if you work in a city such as Cape Town. An equivalent position in a small town that is not as well known is likely to pay less. Therefore it might be wise to cast your net a little wider to get the best chance of a well paid position.
In the end you won’t know exactly what to expect from a teaching assistant position until you try it. However, with prior experience and some research into this role, you will realise that while there are some surprises, it is for the most part a wonderful job for the right person to have.
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