Career and Job Search Guide

Teachers Assistant

Teacher assistants, also known as teacher aides or paraeducators, assist teachers in their classroom, freeing up extra time for teachers to attend to their responsibilities. Assistants help teachers with lessons and provide students an opportunity for individualized tutoring. Teacher assistants are also commonly found in cafeterias, at school trips, and at the playground supervising children. They also prepare classrooms for instruction, keep records for grades, and acquire the teaching aids necessary for instruction.

Certain teacher assistants do not teach since they primarily have clerical duties. Those that work in cafeterias or supervise children at playgrounds are a couple of examples. However, the majority of teacher assistants have clerical and teaching responsibilities. Teacher assistants usually instruct students under the supervision of a teacher. Teaching assistants work with students one on one and in groups. Teaching assistants at junior high schools usually teach a single subject such as history or English. A lot of assistants can be found helping students in computer labs.

Teaching assistants not only teach, they grade papers, review homework, and maintain records. In addition to these duties, they keep rooms supplied with teaching materials and operate and maintain educational equipment.

Since schools are increasingly involving special education students into classrooms, many teaching assistants specialize in special education. They help students with their personal and educational needs. These assistants also help students who do not speak English or those in remedial courses. Many help special needs students find jobs or apply for social services. Likewise, they monitor individual student academic and social progress.

Most teaching assistants work in junior high and high schools, but some work exclusively with children in preschools or day care centers. Since young children require a lot of attention, 1-2 assistants usually collaborate with a teacher. Teaching assistants also help feed children and attend to their basic needs.

Additionally, teacher assistants help infants with birth defects or disabilities. They also lead activities for these children to improve their behavior and develop cognitively under the supervision of an expert or teacher.

Work environment. Most teacher assistants are employed by elementary, junior high, or high schools, but many work at day care centers, churches, and community centers. Many supervise children at playgrounds in a variety of weather conditions, and they spend a lot of time on their feet and knell for considerable periods of time.

40 percent of teacher assistants are employed part time. Nearly 17 percent of teaching assistants working full time do not work 40 hours a week. The majority of assistants involved with classroom instruction do not work during the summer.

Helping students learn can be very satisfying, but working with children or adolescents can be stressful and exhausting. Those specializing in special education have very stressful jobs since they often have to physically move students and assist them with their basic tasks. Performing clerical duties can become boring and monotonous.