What Do Teacher Assistants Do?
Educators rely on teacher assistants to help them with all the basic duties associated with the classroom. Although the teacher ultimately has final control over the syllabus and how the class is conducted, he or she will still ask for your input and expect you to perform all essential duties to ensure the students get the most out of the course.38,260 job openings are expected to take place every year all over the country, so there are going to be plenty of positions available to everyone. This amounts to 9% growth annually. As the need for teachers grows, the need for assistants will grow as well, so it is a worthwhile career to get into.
Teacher Assistants Skills and Abilities
You should naturally be familiar with teaching principles and the method of developing a curriculum. Most teacher assistants have the goal of eventually becoming a teacher, so you will need to learn how to lead a classroom on your own at some point. Knowledge of basic psychology can also be helpful because you should be able to identify when a student is having a problem even if he or she is not vocalizing any concerns. Public speaking skills are vital because you may have to instruct the students eventually, and you need to be able to communicate all the information clearly. You should also be adept with service orientation, and that means you are constantly searching for ways to help students.
Teacher Assistants Duties
In addition to instructing students and providing tutoring when needed, you will also be expected to enforce school rules at all times. If a rule is broken, then you will be expected to carry out the necessary disciplinary action. The teacher may also depend on you to observe students’ performance. Looking over a classroom of 30 or more students is not easy, and part of your responsibilities can include making sure everybody is paying attention to the lesson plan. The teacher may also ask you to sit in on staff meetings or to serve on a committee. You may also be asked to actually grade tests and homework assignments and abide by the teacher’s standards. You could also coordinate activities outside the classroom like setting up a fun field trip. Various other tasks can be asked of you, including:
- Distributing materials.
- Maintaining inventory of supplies.
- Speaking with parents to discuss student’s performance.
- Supervising students during recess or P.E.
Teacher Assistants Tools and Technology
A good amount of your time will be spent in front of a computer, so you should know how to use calendar and scheduling software. Students with special needs may be part of your classroom, and you will need to become familiar with various systems like braille devices and adaptive communication switches.
Education and Training for Teacher Assistants
Most assistants will not need the same level of education as a teacher, but you should have a little bit of college experience under your belt. You should be actively pursuing a degree, and being an assistant will supplement your education.
Teacher Assistants Salary
The amount you will be able to make will vary widely depending on the state you live in, but the national median wage is $24,400 a year. Some assistants can even make as much as $37,000 annually.
Teacher Assistants Jobs by Geography
Every state has a need for talented teacher assistants, but the states with the highest employment levels are California, New York and Texas. Alaska and Rhode Island are the highest paying states, on average, for this type of work. Numerous elementary, junior high and high schools depend on teacher assistants to provide much needed support in the classroom, so if you are interested in getting a career in education, this is an excellent way to do it.