Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Does A Teaching Assistant Do? A Job Description

ChaRandle Jordan facilitates a discussion for ...
ChaRandle Jordan facilitates a discussion for Teaching Assistants (Photo credit: Stanford EdTech)
by Steven T Johnson

A teaching assistant, or teacher's aide, provides support for certified teachers.

Although a teaching assistant's responsibilities vary greatly from school to school, the majority of teaching assistants work at least in part with students who have special needs and thus require more individualized attention.

This individualized attention may include working one-on-one with a particular student, making sure several students are receiving their required services, and/or providing support to students to make sure they are able to succeed in their classes.

The students may have a learning disability, an emotional disability, a behavioral disability, a physical disability, or they may be diagnosed with a condition such as ADHD or autism.

In addition to providing support to students with special needs, a teacher's aide may also assist the certified teacher with various classroom-related tasks, such as grading assignments, entering scores into the grade book, monitoring students, and/or teaching parts of a lesson.

Basically, the teacher's aide provides the certified teacher with an extra set of hands and eyes in the classroom, which will allow the certified teacher to better reach all of the students in the class.

Typically, classrooms that utilize a teaching assistant contain students who require more attention, so the extra help that a teaching assistant provides in these classrooms is invaluable, both to the teacher and to the students being served in the classroom.

Teaching assistants may also be called upon to perform a variety of other supervisory tasks, such as supervising the cafeteria, hallways, and/or outside activities. When supervising, teaching assistants will make sure students are following school expectations in these locations.

Teaching assistants are valuable to a school because they have the flexibility to perform many tasks that certified teachers may not be free to perform. They perform many of the behind-the-scenes tasks that allow the school to run smoothly.

The teacher's aide position is a great position for three primary reasons. First, it is very satisfying to develop relationships with students, to serve them, and to help them be more prepared for the future.

Second, because it is a non-certified position, the responsibilities are less than that of a certified teacher, which allows the teacher's aide to devote more energy to his or her life outside of the job, such as to family, friends, and hobbies. Third, the salary for this position is quite competitive.

Being a teacher's aide means having an exciting and fulfilling job that will make a significant difference in the lives of the children you serve.

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