Being a teacher assistant is a fulfilling and challenging career in education. Persons who enjoy working with students have the necessary passion to work in education. Persons who want to make a difference in the lives of others are the ideal candidates for an educational support team member. Educational support personnel have different titles; they are referred to as teacher assistants or teacher aides. Other job titles for this career choice are paraprofessionals, paraeducators or instructional guides. Regardless of the title, the educational support services provided by the teacher assistant are priceless to the learning process.
Most teacher’s aide positions require a degree or certificate in education or a related field. Check out the programs below which offer free infromation:
Teacher assistants provide much needed support to classroom teachers and students. They are instrumental in providing instructional support. Assistants enrich the teaching of remedial lessons by providing individual support to students on a consistent basis. Teacher assistants assist students in successfully learning the daily lesson objectives. Providing one-on-one assistance from the assistant may be required to help a learner to become successful in classroom tasks. In providing quality instructional support, the assistant is useful to reinforce targeted lesson skills to small or large groups of students. Assistants may assist the teacher by helping students to perform research tasks. Students may receive help to compile research information for class projects.
Teacher assistants help the classroom teachers with various duties of classroom management. They may provide supervision of students during class time and meal times in the cafeteria. Assistants can be responsible for overseeing students who are on the school yard during recess or physical education. Managing students during restroom breaks, school assemblies and field trips are additional responsibilities. Assistants should be independent to complete responsibilities with minimal supervision.
Teacher assistants provide clerical support to the classroom teacher. Assistants may be responsible for recording student’s grades, taking daily attendance, recording daily lunch counts or book inventories. Distributing worksheets and books are other ways the assistant helps the teacher. The classroom teacher may require the assistant to check and grade assignments, collect various materials for the upcoming lesson or perform homework checks. Assistants could be responsible for maintaining, distributing, collecting and organizing classroom supplies. Essential tasks such as typing, photocopying class materials and filing papers are important assisting duties.
Teacher assistants work closely to assist with all types of student learners. Special education students greatly benefit from the use of teacher assistants in a classroom environment. Some special education students may have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that requires extra time and special accommodations to be performed to learn. IEPs are legal documents to ensure the education program meets a student’s unique needs. Teacher assistants receive training and can work with IEP students who may have physical, emotional and mental disabilities. IEPs may require the teacher assistant to use observe and analyze data to compile daily, weekly and monthly performance records. These records of student accomplishments are based on selected educational objectives. Attending to the physical needs of disabled students, teaching daily life skills and offering remedial educational strategies are wonderful examples of quality work by caring teacher assistants.
Training and Education
Requirements to work as a teacher assistant can vary from state to state or locality. Depending on location, some localities require the minimum of a high school diploma to become a teacher assistant. Federal guidelines require some teacher assistants to have a certificate in Early Childhood Development or an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Some jobs may require the competition of some college coursework for employment eligibility. School districts hire teacher assistants to work in Title 1 schools. Title 1 schools have large populations of students who live in low income households. Other employment opportunities could require teacher assistants to successfully pass State or local assessments to meet credential standards.
For employment, teacher assistant positions may require a background check and a negative TB (tuberculosis) test. Teacher assistants can receive on the job training. Computer literacy skills are helpful to completing job duties. Possessing a valid driver’s license is helpful. Previous experience working with children is plus in this career field.
There is a consistent and high demand for educational support personnel. The future outlook is good for teacher assistants. Teacher assistants are employed in many learning environments. Assistants are needed in day care centers, primary and secondary private/public schools. Colleges and universities have many opportunities for teacher assistants.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Salary and Wages
Teacher assistants who work part time are usually hourly employees. Hourly wage is dependent on location demographics.
Full time teacher assistants may work 40 hour weeks. Full time workers usually have benefits and health care coverage. Based on information, May 2009, the mean annual salary is $24,280.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
- National Association for the Education of Young Children – http://www.naeyc.org/
- National Education Association – http://www.nea.org/
- National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals – http://www.nrcpara.org/
- American Federation of Teachers, Paraprofessional and School Related Personnel Division – http://www.aft.org/yourwork/psrp/about.cfm