Preschool, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary School Teaching Assistants

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ABOUT PRESCHOOL, ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE, AND SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHING ASSISTANT CAREERS
Video transcript

Teacher assistants work under a licensed teacher's supervision to give students of all ages additional attention and instruction, either one-on-one or in small groups. Teacher assistants also called teacher aides and paraprofessionals monitor students' progress, and help them to learn the material that teachers present. Assistants may grade tests and check homework, or for young children at childcare centers, they may supervise playtime, and help with feeding and basic care. Some teacher assistants work only with special education students. Assistants may adapt material to the student's learning style and help with understanding, while for students with more severe disabilities, teacher assistants help with basic needs, such as eating and personal hygiene. With young adult students who have disabilities, assistants may teach skills necessary for finding a job or living independently after graduation. Some teacher assistants supervise students in a specific location, such as computer labs, recess, or in the lunchroom. Part-time schedules are common for teacher assistants, sometimes including riding the bus with students before and after school. Many work the nine-month school year, though some also work summers. Teacher assistants have a high rate of illnesses and injuries. Teacher assistants typically need to have completed at least two years of college coursework, or an associate's degree.

SNAPSHOT
Assist a preschool, elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher with instructional duties. Serve in a position for which a teacher has primary responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Order or obtain materials needed for classes.

Notify instructors of errors or problems with assignments.

Teach undergraduate-level courses.

Meet with supervisors to discuss students' grades or to complete required grade-related paperwork.

Inform students of the procedures for completing and submitting class work, such as lab reports.

Return assignments to students in accordance with established deadlines.

Tutor or mentor students who need additional instruction.

Schedule and maintain regular office hours to meet with students.

Copy and distribute classroom materials.

Prepare or proctor examinations.

Develop teaching materials, such as syllabi, visual aids, answer keys, supplementary notes, or course Web sites.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
TOP SKILLS
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.