If you enjoy children and believe you have something important to impart to them as they grow and learn, you might make a terrific teaching assistant. Many teaching assistants work part-time in public and private schools and child care centers, and they all work under the supervision of a classroom teacher. Some organizations require at least an associate degree while others require only a diploma, so it pays to check as you go about the process of applying for a teaching assistant job.
Research all of the public and private schools and child care and tutoring centers in your area. Identify the names, phone numbers and email addresses of the principals or managers of these entities.
Create a spreadsheet so that you can track your outreach efforts to these entities. Include a “status” and “notes” section so that you can record every contact: every resume you send, every follow-up phone call you make and every response you receive. Use the "notes" section as a calendar so that you know precisely when you are due to make your next contact.
Place calls to the principals and managers and inquire about their need for teaching assistants. Be prepared to hear a familiar request: “Please send me a copy of your resume.”
Write a tailored letter of interest to these learning institutions. This letter is nearly identical to a cover letter, except that it is not generated in response to a specific job opening. Write a letter that documents the names of the schools you have worked at, if any. List your educational credentials as well as any ongoing continuing education courses in which you may be enrolled. Explain why you enjoy teaching or, if this is your first foray into the field, why you are drawn to it. Include your resume and a list of professional references. Ensure that all of these documents contain no spelling or grammar errors.
Offer to “shadow” a full-time teacher at the learning institution for the day, especially if this would be your first teaching assistant position. This overture will demonstrate your seriousness about the institution and your enthusiasm for the position.
Prepare an assertive follow-up strategy, knowing that while some teaching assistants may try to time their resignation at the end of a school year, vacancies may turn up at any time of the year. Keep meticulous notes about your contacts so that you can demonstrate your conscientiousness. You want to begin every conversation with, “I hope I haven’t caught you at a bad time in your day. But when we last talked on (name the date), you suggested that I call you in (three weeks).”
Suggest a quick, informal meeting with the principal or manager so that she can begin to put your name together with your face – and call you when a teaching assistant position opens up. School administrators are busy people, so don’t stop by without making an appointment. But if one school in particular has caught you eye, your persistence – and pleasing personality – should make a lasting impression.
- Make an effort to get to know other teaching assistants in your area. Build a credible network so that when an opportunity arises, you are among the first to hear about it.
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