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Teacher’s Aide Courses in Mandurah and Rockingham: A Detailed Guide

Teacher’s Aide Courses in Mandurah and Rockingham: A Detailed Guide

students studying to become a teacher aide

Mandurah and Rockingham have a large number of schools and consequentially a large pool of teacher’s aides – commonly called Education Assistants in WA.


Important points:

  • Mandurah and Rockingham have a large number of schools, and there are therefore, many opportunities for those searching for a teacher’s aide job in the Peel region.
  • Students with the right demeanour, personality and approach combined with a nationally recognised qualification, tend to not have issues finding work in the Mandurah and Rockingham area as a teacher’s aide.
  • Gone are the days where anyone can walk in off the street - the so called “mums brigade” - and start a career as a teacher’s aide.
  • Special needs schools (education support centres) are too often ignored (either accidentally or purposefully) when searching for work – they employ the lion’s share of teacher’s aides and are always looking for new staff (including and in particular relief staff).
  • All reputable providers will offer these support services as they are essential even for the most experienced and advanced students.
  • In General, we advise our students that teacher’s aides earn approximately $30 an hour.
  • The majority of teacher’s aide are not full time.
  • The average person is much more tech savvy and willing to study online, than in the past.
  • Ensure that you choose an RTO that offers face to face support, such as tutorials or one to one meetings. It’s also important to ensure that your provider visits you in the workplace.
  • You may be re-allocated tasks and roles from time to time.
  • The level of difficulty and the time to complete a program, is influenced by the student’s ability, experience and previous studies
  • People with experience raising children or previous studies at this level or higher, tend not to struggle with the course.
  • If you are a younger student and wish to be in class several days per week to help keep you on track - TAFE is probably the right provider for you. However, if you are an adult learner and have some experience in the workplace and/or with children - FTTA is probably the right choice.

Are there many teacher’s aide job in Mandurah or Rockingham?

Mandurah and Rockingham have a large number of schools, and there are therefore many opportunities for those searching for a teacher’s aide job in the Peel region. Many schools employ 20+ teacher’s aides, especially special needs schools (also called Education Support Centres).


There are 43 government and private schools in the region catering to pre-primary, primary and secondary students as well as students requiring specialist education support. Source: peel.wa.gov.au


Some areas around Mandurah and Rockingham have been growing at a rapid rate, such as Baldivis, which not long ago was considered one of the fastest growing areas in Australia. You may consider looking for work as far north as Kwinana or even Cockburn which is only a half hour drive from some suburbs in and around Mandurah and Rockingham such as Secret Harbour and Golden Bay. This is especially true now that the freeway extension has been completed (and it’s worth noting the proposed Karnup train station planned for the entrance of Secret Harbour and Golden Bay.


Peel region map

Map of the Peel region. Source: peel.wa.gov.a


If you live further south such as near Dawesville, then there are a range of schools within easy travelling distance. You may even consider areas such as Falcon and Central Mandurah.


Students with the right demeanour, personality and approach combined with a nationally recognised qualification tend to not have issues finding work in the Mandurah and Rockingham area. Ultimately, the Peel region is a large area with lots of different options especially if you are willing to commute up to 30-40 minutes (at least to begin with). This is also true for those living in more rural areas, such as serpentine and Jarrahdale. We have many students who enrol from:

  • Pinjarra
  • Waroona
  • Byford
  • Serpentine / Jarrahdale
  • Other corners of the Peel region

Peel region map

An icon of the Peel region – the gregarious pelican


How do I become a teacher’s aide in the Mandurah or Rockingham area?

Firstly, we highly recommend that you obtain a nationally recognised qualification such as the CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support or the CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support. These qualifications are essential and will help you get a foot in the door. Gone are the days where anyone can walk in off the street - the so called “mums brigade” - and start a career as a teacher’s aide.


While this does happen from time to time, most schools now require professionally trained support staff as this ensures a greater degree of support provided to students and improved student outcomes. Research and studies in this area, conducted by Australian universities, have shown that untrained teacher’s aides can actually have a detrimental effect on student outcomes.


Providers such as FTTA are geared towards supporting adult learners who need structured, supported and self-paced programs that fit with other important life commitments such as family and work. The great majority of adult learners enrol with private providers.


TAFE providers on the other hand, predominantly train students who are either currently enrolled in a high school or who have left high school in order to study full time (class based) at TAFE. In other words, if you are under 18, and want to study class based (3-5 days per week), TAFE is probably for you.


Once you have completed your nationally recognised qualification (or are at least enrolled) you can start applying for jobs in the Mandurah and Rockingham area. In the first week of your search, choose and contact 10-15 schools close to where you live and ask to be put down on their relief list. In the second week, you can start looking for work in other areas up to 30-40 minutes’ drive. For instance, if you live in Greenfields or around the Central Mandurah area, there are plenty of schools within a 5- or 10-minute drive. These include primary schools, high schools, and special needs schools (education support centres).


Special needs schools (education support centres) are too often ignored (either accidentally or purposefully) when searching for work – they employ the lion’s share of teacher’s aides and are always looking for new staff (including and in particular relief staff). Many of these schools are almost hidden; they are on the same campus as the larger school and sometimes have a very similar name. Education support centres typically have their own principal, admin staff, teachers and support staff – some have 60 or more staff, mostly comprised of teacher’s aides.


Some special needs schools are not attached to other schools, and are schools to themselves with no association to any mainstream school - sometimes they can be quite large. These schools specialise in supporting students with high-needs and have specialist teachers, school managers and support staff. A large number of our graduates work in high-needs schools - they find their work to be rewarding and challenging. Staff in these schools may also enjoy a higher level of independence and responsibility (developing curriculum for example).


Tell me about studying teacher’s aide courses from Mandurah & Rockingham


mandurah work placement

All students need to complete a 100-hour work placement. FTTA student pictured.


All of our courses can also be accessed with online learning. Online mode means you don’t need to attend classes every week. However, we always like to point out that online learning doesn’t mean what you probably think it means. You will still be in regular contact with your trainer whether it be tutorials, email, phone or regular live webinars. All reputable providers will offer these support services as they are essential even for the most experienced and advanced students.


Currently, FTTA hold class-based teacher’s aide courses in Cockburn – A short drive to the north of Mandurah (about 30 minutes from Secret Harbour and 20 minutes from Baldivis). Many students attend classes one day per week in Cockburn. In fact, we have been running classes either in Mandurah or around this area for more than a decade.


Some students travel to attend classes from areas including North Perth, Joondalup, Bunbury and regional towns and farms outside of the Perth Metro. As classes are held one day per week, the extended commute is achievable. The advantages of being in class is worth the drive for those that attend – it adds to a positive learning experience and we highly recommend class if you can attend.


How much do teacher’s aides get paid in Mandurah and Rockingham?

Teacher’s aides in Mandurah and Rockingham come under the education assistants general agreement (see the articles on our website about how much teacher’s aide get paid) unless employed in a private school.


In General, we advise our students that teacher’s aides earn approximately $30 an hour. This is higher than what most websites quote because in reality the majority of teacher’s aides work in special needs, which attracts a higher salary – and hence raises the average. At the bottom end of the scale, teacher’s aides can expect to earn approximately $23 or $24 per hour. At the top end of the scale they can earn anywhere up to $32-$35 an hour depending on their experience and the position.


Some teacher’s aide also receive allowances and entitlements such as:

  • Regional loading allowances
  • First aide allowance
  • Meal and travel allowances
  • Annual leave and long service leave
  • Personal leave which includes sick leave, carers leave and other forms of leave

In general, teacher’s aides, often called education assistants in WA or EAs, work approximately 32 hours per week and are therefore paid just under $1000 per week for 5 days of work.


It’s important to also note that the majority of teacher’s aide are not full time. Many people enter this industry because of the family friendly hours and holidays, and as such 1 or 2 days per week is the goal. Part time employment is more common than full time in many schools.


Can I study a teacher’s aide course in Mandurah or Rockingham online?


studying a course online through FTTA

Teacher’s aide courses are often studied online – ensure you provider offers support services such as workplace visits, webinars, tutorials and phone support from your trainer.


We have a detailed article - teacher’s aide courses online - which explains the online course quite extensively. In short however, you can certainly enrol with FTTA from the Mandurah and Rockingham area in an online mode of study. This particular mode of study is becoming more and more popular because people are busier and need more flexibility in the way that they achieve their goals. The average person is also much more tech savvy and willing to study online, than in the past.


We have developed a range of interesting, motivating and effective learning resources which are available to all of our online students (as well as class students) including:

  • Live webinars using our modern webinar platform
  • Pre-recorded lectures and videos
  • Learning materials and activities

Hint: Ensure that you choose an RTO that offers face to face support, such as tutorials or one to one meetings. It’s also important to ensure that your provider visits you in the workplace on your placement – the advice you will get from an experienced trainer is invaluable to your future career and professional development. It is also expected by the school and bodes well if you are hoping to work there afterwards.


Are teacher’s aides also called education assistants?

In Western Australia, teacher’s aides are often referred to as education assistants, or EAs for short. Education assistants are effectively the same as teacher’s aides, teacher’s assistants, school support officers, learning support officers, integration aides, paraprofessionals and para educators. All of these terms are used in different states (and countries) to refer to classroom support staff who undertake task such as learning support, resource development and planning, administration tasks and logistical support.


Some education assistants also work in a range of programs such as:

  • Literacy or numeracy
  • With aboriginal or indigenous students/programs
  • With special needs students and high needs students
  • In agricultural schools
  • In home economics
  • The school library

The roles and tasks expected of a teacher’s aide, varies from school to school and even classroom to classroom. Even though you are employed for a particular role initially, you may be re-allocated tasks and roles from time to time. For example, you may apply to work with year 1 or year 2 students and find that at the end of the year, you are actually needed in the year 3 or 4 class or even the year 6 class. In fact, this is probably the norm and not the exception – your position is determined by the needs of the school and the student, and hence changes regularly.


Is the course difficult and how long does it take to complete?

FTTA student celebrating

FTTA student celebrating the end of her final assessment.


The level of difficulty and the time to complete a program, is influenced by the student’s ability, experience and previous studies – some students don’t struggle at all such as those who have raised children. Others, such as students who struggle with English, may need to set aside more time each week due to the additional difficulty of working in their second language (or third or fourth language for some).


Generally, we advise students who ask this question, that the course is not as difficult as technical courses such as business, accounting, IT and so forth. People with experience raising children for example, seem to breeze through the course. High school leavers can often do well as they are used to studying and have well-developed study skills and routines. The biggest barrier to success is not the course difficulty, but the need for consistent dedication and time commitment – putting in the hours.


We have included several examples from our learner guide. This will give you an idea of the types of topics and potential questions you can expect in the assessments. *


We highly recommend the class-based mode of study as the completion rate is slightly higher and students regularly comment that they enjoyed attending classes. This is because students in class can ask questions, discuss issues and questions with fellow students, and work through the learning and assessment materials in small groups.


Online or distance mode is also very popular with many students especially in the Mandurah and Rockingham area. It is particularly useful for students who cannot make it to class due to other commitments such as work and family. Many students, regardless of mode, take about 6-9 months to complete their course.


Online students tend to take a little longer than class-based students, probably due to the additional motivation and engagement that class-based attendance provides. Some students finish in a shorter timeframe, especially if they have experience with children in the past or have studied at this level or higher.


Should I enrol with FTTA or TAFE?


Adult learners

Adult learners usually enrol with FTTA. High school students with TAFE.


We have previously explained that TAFE is generally recommended and geared towards students who are younger such as those in year 11 or 12 or who have recently left high school. Traditionally this has been TAFE’s role in the training system. Adult learners however overwhelmingly enrol with private providers such as FTTA.


If you are a younger student and wish to be in class several days per week to help keep you on track - TAFE is probably the right provider for you. However, if you are an adult learner and you have some experience in the workplace and/or with children - FTTA is probably the right choice.


Summary

This article has summarised and discussed many of the common issues, concerns and questions that student and prospective students ask in regard to teacher’s aide courses. In particular we have discussed the availability of teacher’s aide courses in the Mandurah and Rockingham area, how much staff in the Mandurah and Rockingham area can expect to earn as teacher’s aide, the types of work available, how to find a teacher’s aide job and what courses you need to complete in order to begin your career.


If you have any further questions regarding any of these topics, we have published a series of blogs, available on our website, covering topics such as pay, online study and qualifications, in much greater detail. Alternatively, contact one of our friendly student advisers.


* Example from learner guide:


Day to day strategies


The following strategies and techniques may be used to support the development of literacy skills. These strategies can be applied in all subject areas such as numeracy, science, humanities and in fact in any educational setting.

Scaffolding

One of the most common strategies used in education. Scaffolding is the process of dividing a task into smaller tasks that get harder or more complex with each step. The end goal is to eventually be able to piece all parts together at the same time to complete a task. For example, to solve a maths problem, the learner may learn more simple problems and slowly practice harder and harder questions.

Chunking

Chunking involves dividing a task into separate pieces so that each piece can be attempted. For example, a project can be divided into 10 separate and achievable parts.


This is especially useful when the overall task is difficult, complex or time consuming. One of the benefits of scaffolding is that the learner can be successful on a regular basis. This increases the likelihood of engagement and improved self-esteem.

Flipped learning

A relatively new concept that basically means students do some of the easier work at home. The idea is that students can then spend time in class working on more complex problems with the support of the teacher or EA. For example, silent reading can easily be done at home (as it doesn’t require much support). The student can then practice reading more difficult texts in class or even try writing a response or summary.

Think aloud

Think-alouds have been described as "eavesdropping on someone's thinking." With this strategy, teachers verbalize aloud while reading a selection orally. Their verbalizations include describing things they're doing as they read to monitor their comprehension. The purpose of the think-aloud strategy is to model for students how skilled readers construct meaning from a text.


It teaches students to re-read a sentence, read ahead to clarify, and/or look for context clues to make sense of what they read.


Source: Reading Rockets, 2018
Summarise

A simple but effective strategy that helps students to engage deeper with a text such as a short story or movie. The student may be asked to quickly summarise the whole text or parts of the text. If you ask a student to read a text and then summarise it, they will read the text more conscientiously.

Visualise

Ask students to draw a picture in their mind. For example, a student is reading about a dog that gets lost in a big city. Ask the student to picture the city from the perspective of the dog. What does the city look like? Visualisation can also help learners commit new words to memory.

Re-read

The purpose of re-reading is to improve understanding of the text or to practice phonetic skills. A student may re-read a text several times (silently or aloud). You may read a text at normal pace and then at slow pace (stopping to ask questions or to emphasise certain words or sounds).

Contextual cues

See the section earlier in this chapter about the use of cues.

Peer reading

This strategy involves two or more students reading to each other as well as helping each other if required. People learn very efficiently by interacting with other people. Sometimes older students can help support younger students.

Using props Props (short for property) is a strategy that can help keep students on task, heighten engagement, allow for visualisation and improve tactile related skills. Using props can make the lesson more memorable and interesting which is especially useful for groups of students who are lacking motivation.
Peer reading

This strategy involves two or more students reading to each other as well as helping each other if required. People learn very efficiently by interacting with other people. Sometimes older students can help support younger students.

Active listening

The process of listening and responding to a person to show that you have clearly understood and processed the information being communicated. See previous chapters in this guide for a more detailed discussion on active listening.

Clarifying

A technique used to expand learners’ use of language and to elicit further details.

  • Clarifying what you mean (to avoid potential misunderstanding)
  • Clarifying what others mean (when you don't understand them or are not sure if you understand them properly)
Non-verbal cues

Observe the non-verbal signals sent by students and monitor your own non-verbal cues. Non-verbal cues include:

  • Body movements - hand nodding or gestures
  • Posture - how you stand or sit
  • Eye contact - helps determine a level of trust
  • Para-language - pitch, tone and speed of speech
  • Personal space - closeness can reflect level of intimacy and comfort
  • Facial expressions - smile, frown and blinking
  • Physiological change – sweating or blinking from nervousness
Language choice

Language choice has a significant impact on the meaning and interpretation of a text. For example, an author could describe a person in many different ways. How they choose to describe the person has an impact on the way the reader thinks about that person. Your job is to:

  • Help students think about different ways to expressive the same idea
  • Think carefully about the language you use when speaking with children
Rapport

See earlier sections of this learner guide about the importance of building rapport. Students are more likely to seek your assistance and support if they have a good rapport with you. They are also more likely to engage with tasks that you set and follow your instructions.

Build on existing knowledge

People learn much faster if it can be related to something that is relevant to them or to something that they have learnt previously. For example, if students have previously learnt about zoo animals, a book about zoo animals may be appropriate as the students can bring with them a large amount of knowledge. This familiarity makes the task more engaging and accessible.

Expectation

People usually try to meet expectations. For example, if you were given two hours to complete an assessment, you will probably complete it in two hours. If you were given two months however, many students will take the full two months. The time expectation changes the way people approach a task and the quality of the work. You can set expectation in various ways such as time, quality, complexity and use of certain skills (such as using certain words).

Professional language

It is important to always use professional language in your role as an education assistant even if not speaking directly with children. Professional language is important because:

  • It models good behaviour to children
  • It helps students learn new terminology and sentence structures
  • It ensures you use non-offensive and inclusive language
  • It ensures that language is courteous, polite and clear
  • It shows others that you take your work serious
  • It shows students that you are a professional who can be relied on for professional level support
Feedback

It is important to provide feedback to children that is constructive and detailed. This helps learners to improve. Feedback that is vague or simple such as ‘good job’ doesn’t help that much. Feedback can be a combination of positive and negative comments and you may use this structure:

  1. Something specific that was done particularly well
  2. Some areas/ways to improve
  3. Overall and general comments
Relate to real life

A strategy that can help students to conceptualise a new idea or skill. Similar to building on existing knowledge but more so related to the student’s interests.


Hazards

A hazard is the source or situation that has the potential to cause harm, death or damage to a person or to property. You can think of a hazard as the ‘thing’ or object that can hurt someone. Harm can be a human injury, ill-health or death, damage to property, the environment, or a combination of these.


Common examples of hazards include:

  • Slippery floor
  • Tripping hazards such as school bags on the floor
  • Unprotected electrical wires
  • An overly large or small step
  • Vehicles and traffic
  • Strangers or intruders
  • Sunlight, humidity and heat
  • A broken piece of equipment
  • A stressful situation or event
  • Water (especially deep or fast)
  • Machinery with moving parts
  • Heights including work with ladders
  • Heavy objects stored in high places
  • Poorly designed work flow or tasks
  • Tasks that require an awkward posture
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Chemicals including fumes and gases
  • Pinch points
  • Sharp edges and corners
  • Biological (faeces, animal waste, virus, fungi or mould)
  • Psychological (poor leadership, bullying, overworked, working alone)

Mechanism of incident

Adult learners usually enrol with FTTA. High school students with TAFE.


Duty of care

Duty of care is defined as “A duty imposed by the law to take care to minimise the risk of harm to another.” (Department of Education WA, 2013)


As an education assistant, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety of students, yourself and your fellow staff members. Your duty of care extends to all situations where you are supervising children including excursions and camps. You also have a duty of care for the equipment being used by yourself and the students under your supervision.


“A person suffering harm will be entitled to damages (compensation) if he or she can establish that a member…failed to take reasonable care…”
(Department of Education WA, 2013)


What you need to do

  • Ensure that you follow and enforce the rules, policies and systems
  • Wear and use PPE properly
  • Use equipment and machines properly
  • Report hazards and incidents promptly
  • Report injuries and health problems
  • Constantly scan for hazards and act appropriately if you identify a hazard

What you need to remember

  • Work is not a game (even if volunteering)
  • Follow the safety rules at all times
  • Report all hazards and incidents immediately
  • Seek help if unsure and ask questions

When and how it applies

  • It applies wherever there is special relationship (such education assistant and child)
  • It applies to all circumstances of that relationship (even if you share supervision)
  • Generally, an individual's duty of care cannot be delegated but roles and functions may (for example, a teacher may ask you to supervise students on your own, however the teacher will always have a duty of care to those children (even if not present).
  • It applies to all risks that are foreseeable and preventable

Housekeeping: A commonly used term that describes the activity of regularly looking around the work area and making changes to ensure the area is safe. This can include a quick clean-up, moving equipment, tagging broken furniture or other task that may prevent injury.


Safe work practice: When a person undertakes a work task in the safest possible manner. Think about each task as a series of steps and complete each step in the safest manner.


About the author

Adam Green is a former teacher, member of the government’s Education Support Industry Advisory Group, MD at FTTA, and a post-graduate researcher at Murdoch university.


Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is general, may not be relevant to you, is not legal advice and no guarantee of accuracy is provided. Users should seek expert advice before relying on any information provided in this article.

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