Teacher Assistant & Aide Jobs
Also referred to as teacher assistants, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, and paraeducators, teacher aides provide valuable assistance to students, teachers, and administrators. The specific job requirements vary depending on the position.
One can enter the field of education as a teacher's aide with minimal higher education. Often, a high school diploma, background check, and on the job training are all that is required. Associate degrees in teaching are also available, which give a potential employee an advantage. Some schools will provide tuition reimbursement to teacher aides who wish to earn their bachelor's degree in education and continue as an employee at the given school.
40% of teacher assistants are part time employees according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Part time aides rarely receive benefit packages. Full time employees receive benefits including health care and retirement. Furthermore, over one-third of teacher assistants belong to a union. The average salary for a teacher assistant is US$22,200 according to BLS as of 2008.
Many teacher assistants are employed to help a teacher or team of teachers with various tasks. Aides can provide instruction to individual or small groups of students while under the direct supervision of a qualified teacher. Aides are also qualified to help the teacher create lessons, design materials, administer tests, and grade assessments.
Another common position is for an aide to provide direct assistance to and individual or small group of students throughout the day. Often students in the special education program have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that requires the accommodation of an aide. The aide may help provide individual instruction, ensure organization, or help with physical activities like pushing a wheelchair. Teacher aides who can speak a second language that is common within the student population are frequently sought after as translators.
Part of an aide's day is often spent supervising students during non-instructional times. Providing supervision during student arrival and dismissal, recess, lunchroom, and hallway transitions are common assignments. Some school districts hire teacher assistants to operate the library or computer lab.
Other aides spend part or all of the school day completing clerical work. This may involve filing documents, copying materials, entering data, or stocking supplies.
Overall, teacher assistants need to be flexible facing each school day as they are called upon to complete a variety of tasks. Patience and a love of children are essential characteristics. Often free of stressful duties like taking work home and dealing with discipline, teacher assistants enjoy working in the school and classroom environment and leaving a lasting impact on the students with whom they interact.