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5 Key Qualities of a Teaching Assistant

Teaching assistant teaching child at desk

Is it your dream to become a teaching assistant?

Teaching assistants play an essential role in supporting teachers and helping students reach their full potential.

Whether working in a primary school, secondary school, or a further education setting, a teaching assistant’s responsibilities can vary widely, from supporting individual students with special educational needs to assisting with classroom management and administrative tasks.

But what are the key qualities that make a teaching assistant effective in their role? In this blog, we’ll explore the five qualities that we believe are essential for a teaching assistant to have.

Patience and empathy

Teaching assistants need to be patient and empathetic individuals who can work with students of all ages and abilities.

They must be able to communicate effectively with children who may be struggling with their schoolwork, have special educational needs, or be experiencing emotional difficulties.

Patience and empathy are essential in building positive relationships with students, helping them supported and encouraged in their learning.


The ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances is an essential quality for a teaching assistant.

They need to be able to respond to the needs of both the teacher and the students, often in unpredictable situations.

Whether it’s helping a student with a sudden behavioural issue or stepping in to support a lesson at short notice, a teaching assistant must be able to think on their feet and adapt their approach as needed.

Organisation and time management

With a wide range of responsibilities, from preparing classroom materials to managing student records, teaching assistants need to be highly organised and efficient.

Good time management skills are also essential in ensuring that all tasks are completed on time, and nothing falls through the cracks.

They must be able to prioritise their workload, manage their time effectively, and ensure that they are meeting the needs of both the teacher and the students.

A positive attitude

Teaching assistants must be positive, enthusiastic individuals who are committed to supporting student learning.

They need to be able to inspire and motivate students, even when faced with challenging circumstances.

A positive attitude is also essential in building strong working relationships with both the teacher and the students, fostering a sense of teamwork and collaboration in the classroom.

Continuous learning and development

Finally, teaching assistants must be committed to continuous learning and development. They need to stay up-to-date with the latest teaching techniques, technologies, and educational best practices.

This means attending training sessions, reading educational materials, and seeking out opportunities for professional development.

By constantly improving their skills and knowledge, teaching assistants can provide the best possible support to their students and help them achieve their full potential.

Teaching assistants play a crucial role in supporting student learning and helping teachers create a positive, engaging classroom environment.

By possessing the key qualities of patience, empathy, adaptability, organisation, a positive attitude, and a commitment to continuous learning, teaching assistants can be highly effective in their role and make a positive difference in the lives of the students they support.

If you’re thinking about changing your career and becoming a teaching assistant, take a look at our CACHE Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools course.

You can also read our full guide on how to become a teaching assistant.

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