The first month in your new job as a teaching assistant will be different to any other career you’ve had – that’s why so many people opt for this career change! It might be surprising at first, but within a month or so, you’ll settle into your new role and find you’ve already learnt so much.
Some things might surprise you, others not so much! Read on to get ahead of the curve and see what you’ll learn in your first month as a teaching assistant.
You’re Tougher Than You Thought
Your first few weeks as a TA may be overwhelming – you’ve potentially got dozens of children you’ll need to get to know and understand how best you can support them. They’ll be things on the curriculum that mean you need to brush up on your knowledge. You’ll need to adjust to school life and meet the teachers you’re supporting.
Chances are those 4 weeks will go by in a flash, how will you manage?
Keeping positive, understanding that with time you’ll be in the swing of things and remembering you’re tougher than you think all help!
Anticipation Becomes Excitement
Much like your first day as a student, your first day as a TA promotes feelings of anticipation. It’s the same with anything new we start in life; there’s the eagerness to get started, coupled with mild anxiousness about what to expect. The longer you’re in the role, you’ll soon learn that those feelings of anticipation make way for daily excitement to see your students, support them and enable them to progress, learn and develop.
Particularly in your first month, every day will see you teach something new, adapt a learning technique to suit a student or rethink how you’ve approached a behavioural issue in class. Being a teaching assistant is by no means an easy job, but the variety will make you excited every day.
Here’s what you can expect to do as a teaching assistant.
In theory behaviour management is a cinch: a child is misbehaving, you tell the child to stop. Simple. In practice, the situation is very different. Very quickly though, you’ll understand what works best for your group (all children respond differently, so finding the ideal attitude can take time) and how to manage their behaviour. In the long run your children will work better, learn more and the class teacher will be immeasurably grateful!
Although behaviour management in the classroom can very much be trial and error, you’ll soon hit the tone and language that works best – ‘stop shouting’ will turn into ‘please speak quietly as others are finding it difficult to concentrate’. By the time your first month is behind you, you’ll have behaviour management perfected!
What You’re Doing is Worthwhile
Is being a teaching assistant worth it
Why? You’re supporting a child to develop core skills that are not only useful in the classroom, but generally in life too. Being a teaching assistant is an incredibly rewarding job – at times it can be challenging, but knowing you’re helping a child learn is an unrivalled feeling. The ‘light bulb’ moment
is something many teaching assistants strive for.
You’ll Develop Your Skills
Aside from knowing the practical parts of being a teaching assistant – learning names, understanding class dynamics, working effectively alongside the class teacher – you’ll develop your own skills too. Working in an educational environment helps you develop your skills in communication and interaction, tests your patience and makes you much more resilient.
Within your first month, you’ll have become more confident in your ability to direct students and support their learning. You’ll be surprised how quickly you settle into school life and put your new skills into action!
It’s Your Dream Career
Many people become a teaching assistant in preparation for a PGCE course – it’s a low risk way of deciding whether it’s the right career choice for you and allows you to adapt to a career in the classroom.
Being a teacher often comes with more pressure, tighter deadlines and stricter targets – as a TA you have the best of both worlds; you have the responsibility over students and their schooling, without the ‘box ticking’. Although being a teaching assistant allows you to ‘dip your toe in the water’, you might find it’s all you want in a career. Within your first month, you may realise that being a teaching assistant is the dream career!
Ready for your first month as a teaching assistant, but not sure how to achieve your new career?
kick start your career in the classroom with our comprehensive teaching support course