Teacher Assistants

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ABOUT TEACHER ASSISTANT CAREERS
Video transcript

While it can be enormously rewarding to help a child learn, the teaching job is also exhausting, difficult and stressful. Teacher assistants, often called teacher aides, can help relieve some of the pressure teachers face in the classroom. They handle tasks that allow the teacher more time for lesson planning and teaching.

Teacher assistants may correct or grade papers, prepare visual aids to enhance the lesson, supervise students in the cafeteria, schoolyard, or on field trips, or tutor students. Assistants are often assigned to help students who have disabilities or special needs. Sensitivity and patience are key assets.

Assistants tend to work during normal school hours, although some may take paperwork home to complete. They work the standard school year, which usually means holidays and summers off. Well-educated people who may have pursued careers elsewhere are increasingly recruited to work as teacher aides. At the high school level in particular, they may specialize in a certain subject, such as math or science.

The education requirements needed to become a teacher assistant are being influenced by the recently passed "no child left behind" act. The act mandates that all teacher assistants working in a program supported by federal Title I funds have at least a two-year associate's degree, two years of college study, or pass an exam given by a local school district. These are quickly becoming the standard requirement for many teaching assistant positions.

It should be pointed out that being a teacher assistant doesn't necessarily put you on the career path to becoming a teacher. That requires years of specialized training. But being a teacher assistant will certainly get you top marks for being friendly, helpful and caring.

SNAPSHOT
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
LOW
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

Use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations.

Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials to prevent injuries and damage.

Organize and label materials and display students' work in a manner appropriate for their eye levels and perceptual skills.

Attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required.

Discuss assigned duties with classroom teachers to coordinate instructional efforts.

Present subject matter to students under the direction and guidance of teachers, using lectures, discussions, or supervised role-playing methods.

Organize and supervise games and other recreational activities to promote physical, mental, and social development.

Observe students' performance, and record relevant data to assess progress.

Prepare lesson materials, bulletin board displays, exhibits, equipment, and demonstrations.

Type, file, and duplicate materials.

Laminate teaching materials to increase their durability under repeated use.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
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.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
KEY ABILITIES
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Recognition The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
TOP SKILLS
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.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.