What is it like to be a Teaching Assistant
As its name suggests, a teaching assistant (TA) or sometimes referred to as a teacher assistant or teacher aid, is a person who assists a teacher or a professor with instructional responsibilities. Through a teaching assistant, the teachers are given more time to do other responsibilities most especially making lesson plans and doing the actual teaching. TA’s practically are delegated with the tasks of supporting and assisting the children in learning during classes through individualized attention. They also supervise the students when in the schoolyard, cafeteria, and during field trips. A teacher assistant also does some things in behalf of the teachers so the burden is made lighter for the latter.
Teaching Assistant – Nature of Work
A teaching assistant also called as a paraprofessional or paraeducator some time, records grades, sets up equipment and helps in the preparation of instructional materials. Some of them perform only secretarial tasks which are not academically based. Other TA’s however, are given tasks that are a combination of clerical and instructional duties. A teaching assistant ideally gives instructional support to students through the supervision and guidance of a licensed teacher.
This may come in a form of one on one academical support or by groups. TA’s will have to listen while students read, review or reinforce class lessons, or help them come up with information for reports or assignments. At secondary level, these teaching assistants will have to specialize in one subject like science or math. There may also be times when a teaching assistant will be assigned to work at computer laboratories, helping students in using computers and some educational software programs.
In addition to the previously mentioned responsibilities and tasks of a teaching assistant, he/she also grades test papers, check homework, keeps safe the health and attendance records, does, encoding, arranging and duplication of the different materials. Furthermore, a teaching assistant also stock supplies, operates audiovisual equipment, and keeps all the equipment in the classroom in an orderly manner.
Some of the individuals who became a teaching assistant also experienced dealing extensively with special children. As schools become more comprehensive and merge special students into general classrooms, these teacher assistants have been continuously increasing in demand to offer support to these disabled children. The needs of the physically disabled children, including their grooming and hygiene habits, feeding and social interaction, are all under the care of the teaching assistant. There are also others who provide focused attention to foreign students who has English as their second language. A teacher assistant also helps in the assessment of a student’s improvement in performance through constant observation.
Teaching Assistant – Requirements
Like other professions and careers, there are certain requirements that must be met prior to becoming an official teaching assistant. The requirements vary from one institution to another and range from a high school diploma to some college training. Expectedly, employers are looking forward to have workers that have some related college coursework. They see it as an advantage if you are applying as a teaching assistant for them.
Many of the employers only require a high school diploma from someone who wishes to apply for a teaching assistant slot. However, it is imperative that he/she has undergone training or some related work experiences. It is a plus if you have earned a college degree since it reflects the fact that you are now more knowledgeable and skilful and will be able to follow instructions more easily than the others. This is a very important requirement since a teaching assistant has a lot of responsibilities that mainly entail instructional and clerical works.
Teaching Assistant – Employment
The employment rate for those wanting to become a teaching assistant has been widely known to increase as each year passes by. This can be best explained by the assumption that there will also be a direct increase of enrolees which include special education students and foreigners. With that said, it is clear that institutions will surely be needing a lot more of these teaching assistants to make the licensed teachers’ work load lesser and lighter. The greater focus on improvement of quality education and accountability has also definitely contributed to the dramatic growth of employment rate for teaching assistants. This only means that there are now more opportunities for people to get employed as a teaching assistant.
Teaching Assistant – Earnings
The teaching assistant earns a medial annual wage of $22,200 as of May 2008. The middle half earned around $17,610 and $28,180. The least 10% earned about $15,340 and the highest 10% receive more than $33,980. Full time teacher assistants get health coverage benefits and those that do not have none. Given this information, it is preferable that you work full time as a teaching assistant to enjoy more benefits and greater wages.
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