What does a Teacher Assistant do?
A teacher assistant works under the supervision of a licensed teacher and helps to reinforce the materials or lessons given by the teacher. They may help small groups of students or may work exclusively with special education students attending traditional classes.
Teacher assistants are sometimes referred to as teacher aides, education assistants, instructional aides, para-educators, or paraprofessionals. They typically work in private and public schools, religious organizations, or childcare centers mostly on a part-time basis.
How to Become a Teacher Assistant
Teacher assistants typically need to have completed 2 years of college coursework or hold an associate’s degree. Candidates who wish to work in schools with a Title 1 program must have 2 years of college, a 2 year degree, or pass a local or state assessment.
Associate’s degree programs prepare the student to develop educational materials, understand the role of teachers and teacher assistants in the setting of a classroom, and observe students. Almost all states have the requirement for instructional aides that work with special-needs students to pass a skill based test.
Job Description of a Teacher Assistant
The duties of a teacher assistant is to reinforce lessons given by the teachers by reviewing materials with one student or in small groups. They help enforce class rules and school rules to help students develop proper behavior. They may need to work with special needs children and help teach them understand the material and may need to help a child that is further challenged with personal hygiene or eating or guide a disabled student in necessary skills with the goal of helping them live independently one day.
Teacher assistants help monitor classrooms, lunch rooms, recess, as well as field trips. They take the classroom attendance and calculate grades and help a teacher in classroom preparation such as setting up equipment, computers, or materials.
A teacher assistant should be skilled in communication, resourcefulness, and have patience and interpersonal skills.