If you have ever thought of becoming a teacher, you don’t have to jump into the profession immediately, it would be wise to get your feet wet first by possibly taking a position as a teacher assistant/aide or educational aide.
Today’s blog will highlight what role Teacher Assistants play in the classroom.
What exactly is the role of the teacher assistant or in the classroom? TA’s must be able to perform the following duties in the classroom:
- Provide support and reinforcement for teacher and lessons
- Give one-on-one or small group instruction and lesson review
- Help teachers with attendance, grading, and other administrative tasks
- Set up materials and equipment to help teachers prepare lessons
- Provide additional supervision for students during class, lunch, recess,
between classes and on class outings or field trips
Teacher assistants work under the guidance of a licensed teacher to help perform many classroom tasks, ranging from organizing classroom materials to setting up equipment that teachers will use to carry out lessons.
Requirements for Teacher Assistants
Educational requirements and skills for TA’s vary from state to state and school district to school district, with some states requiring only a high school diploma.
In Texas there are three levels of teacher assistant certificates but you must start first with a high school diploma. To obtain a grade II certificate, one should have a high school diploma and a minimum of 15 semester hours college credit. If one has over 30 semester hours of credit, he/she may apply for a grade III certificate.
These requirements are good for working in private or charter schools, however, if you want to work in a Title I school, you must have a two year degree and a teacher’s assistant certificate.
Your chances of obtaining a very good TA position in Texas increase if you have a two year associate’s degree in assistant teaching or elementary education. Once you complete the teacher assistant internship, you must take a required test to get a teacher’s assistant license and once completed, then start applying for jobs.
Because most TA’s are not required to have a four year degree, they will receive much of their training on the job. This usually includes learning the procedures of the school including everything from equipment to record keeping to classroom preparation. Most of this training will come from the lead classroom teacher. Other training may be available through unions or professional organizations.
If one wishes to serve in a special needs classroom, he or she may have to pass a local state of district assessment as well as a skills-based test also.
Necessary TA Skills and Competencies
In addition to technical skills, there are other areas that include the following:
- Interpersonal skills: TA’s interact with students, parents, teachers and administrators and it is important to be able to maintain good working relationships with all.
- Communications skills: TA’s must be able to communicate student progress and challenges in a constructive way with both teachers and parents.
- Patience: Regardless of the student’s varying abilities and background, TA’s must be able to remain patient with all children.
- Resourceful: TAS’s need to be extremely resourceful and creative to be able to explain lessons cohesively to each student’s ability and understanding.
If your ultimate goal is to become a full time teacher, it is necessary to complete your education to a four year degree and at the same time, if possible, to obtain experience by volunteering at a local school, church or youth organization where skills can be honed before entering the profession full time.
Almost anyone can gain experience as a TA, be it high school seniors, college undergraduates, previously employed teachers, or those who just want to work in an educational setting. Aside from the educational requirements, TA candidates may also have to undergo a background check and pass a drug test.
Teacher Assistant Salary
Salary for teacher assistants can vary widely depending on what state and school district you apply to. The top 10% annual salary range for TA’s is nationally about $43,040 , while the bottom 10% annual salary is less than $18,894. Nationwide the median annual salary is right at $27,920.
Most entry level teacher assistants with entry level status and less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (including tips, bonus and overtime pay ) of $11.62 per hour. An early career teacher assistant with 1 to 4 years of experience can expect to earn a total compensation of $11.90.
So, if you have an interest in teaching and want to test the waters, now would be an excellent time. The negative effects of the pandemic has caused shortages in the educational field that has affected levels of the teaching profession, from teachers, to teacher assistants, educational aides, bus drivers, support staff and even administrators. Becoming a teacher assistant will help contribute to the successful goals of our educational system.