How Can I Become a Teaching Assistant?

A valuable asset to any classroom is the Teaching Assistant. They work alongside the teacher to ensure that students are learning as successfully as they can. Teaching Assistants help with classroom preparation and delivery of lessons.

What Does a Teaching Assistant Do?

In primary and secondary schools, the teaching assistant works with the teachers in one or more classes. They assist in clerical tasks like copying handouts, grading tests, and taking attendance. A teaching assistant also assists in monitoring students’ behavior and provide instructional assistance to students with special needs or require additional help. As support staff, the role of a teaching assistant is to support the teachers, students, and the school.

Different Kinds of Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistants work in every level of education, and their role varies depending on the situation. Those that work with children in elementary or middle school are more likely involved with learning disabilities and assisting special needs students. These are typically called Paraprofessionals. Teaching Assistants that work in high school and college classes are more likely to assist in delivering lesson plans and tutoring. In that circumstance, the teaching assistant will need to have some subject knowledge and may be required to have a degree in the field of study or be in the process of achieving the degree.

Personal skills that come in handy for becoming a teaching assistant are attention to detail, willingness to help wherever needed, flexibility in schedules, and the love for learning. To stay on top of current teaching methods and information, it is important for a teaching assistant to adopt a continuous-learning attitude.

Education and Career Path

There is not a standard requirement for becoming a teaching assistant, but many schools require at least a 2-year degree. The minimum education is typically a high school diploma. Since teaching assistants work with children, they will have to pass a background check in order to attain the position.

In many circumstances, teaching assistants will continue their education and certification to become teachers themselves. While that is not a requirement, there is an opportunity for a higher salary, possibly tenure, and retirement benefits.

Organizations and Career Outlook

The National Education Association (NEA), is a large organization that supports schools and professionals in the education field, including teaching assistants. They provide resources and training to teaching assistants across the country. With more innovation and technology being used in classrooms, the need for the kind of help that teaching assistants provide has increased. Students are using more advanced learning tools that require assistance that the teacher cannot always provide. There is a 6% growth in the field, which matches the national average for all jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Becoming a Teaching Assistant is an easy choice if you love learning and you love to help people learn. Teachers are incredibly thankful to have them assist in their classrooms and help with other tasks so that they can focus on teaching. Teachers are already tasked with the future of our society, and teaching assistants play an important role in the formation of ideas and concepts in young minds.