Teaching Assistant Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a teaching assistant. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a teaching assistant.
Who is a Teaching Assistant?
A teaching assistant or education assistant is an individual or group of individuals that help or assist a teacher with instructional responsibilities. Also known as teaching aides, team teachers, or education assistants, a teaching assistant stands in for the professor or teacher when necessary. They are well-trained and conversant with all that is needed to make the teaching and learning process successful. The teaching assistant has a broad knowledge of the subject area; as well as the rules and regulations of the institution. Additionally, the teaching assistants have the skills and abilities to attend to the student’s needs. Education assistants can either be graduate students (graduate teaching assistants), undergraduate students (undergraduate teaching assistants), high school students (secondary school teaching assistants), or adults (elementary school teaching assistants or paraprofessional educators). Regardless of the form or title, the roles, duties, and responsibilities of teaching assistants are mostly the same.
Though a teaching assistant majorly assists with classes and instruction, some teaching assistants can serve as the sole instructor for a particular course, module, or subject area. Some teaching assistants even handle classes for the entire semester or session while serving as graduate student instructors or teaching fellows. The contract period or duration of education assistants determines their salary structure. An education assistant assists and supports the main teacher to pass instructions, especially to students or pupils with special educational needs such as Attention Deficit Hypersensitive Disorders, autism, blindness, or deafness amongst others.
A teaching assistant is responsible for supporting pupils, students, and learners in their social, educational, or emotional development; this can be done individually, in groups, or as a whole class. The teaching assistant must be able to free up the professor or teacher’s time for teaching by prepping the classroom for lessons and learning, creating displays of the student’s work, or making teaching resources and materials readily available. With added experience and expertise, a teaching assistant can take on a specialism such as SEN (Special Educational Needs), numeracy, or literacy. Teaching assistants that are at least bilingual can develop specialties in working with students whose first language is not English.
Furthermore, an education assistant may be required to work part-time or full-time depending on the institution; such an individual must be willing to plan and present lessons whilst handling basic administrative tasks. Most schools and institutions necessitate teaching assistants to pass an internal examination before being hired. Based on their level, qualified teaching assistants might be asked to occasionally supplant the main teacher or professor in their absence. However, the age and maturity of the learners play a huge role in the responsibilities and duties of the teaching assistant. When faced with students with behavioral challenges, a teaching assistant is expected to provide individual and group guidance sessions; they should be able to organize group activities for students, grade any given assessment using the teacher’s grading criteria, and take the students on field trips and excursions as required by the main teacher or institution.
In day-care centers, elementary schools, preschools, or middle schools, the teaching assistant contributes to the students’ beneficial learning experience by being friendly, empathetic, kind, and caring to the pupils. They observe students performing below or above the average education level for their grade and create or develop individualized coursework and lesson plans. The teaching assistant should be a good motivator; they must encourage students to complete assignments and keep parents appraised of their children’s progress or performance. When a child isn’t progressing, the teaching assistant must innovate and create new strategies and techniques to help the student to improve.
Types of Teaching Assistants
- Graduate Teaching Assistants: A graduate teaching assistant is a graduate student employed temporarily by a department or faculty at a university or college in teaching-related capacities. They act as tutors and provide teaching support to the students and the department at large. Often, teaching assistant roles serve as a building block for an individual with aspirations to pursue a career in academics. A graduate teaching assistant can assist a professor with a large lecture class by teaching students in laboratories, discussions, or recitation sessions. There are discrepancies in the duties of graduate teaching assistants; while some may tutor and hold office hours, others might be needed to invigilate tests or examinations as well.
- Undergraduate Teaching Assistants: Do you remember your first University class in which the instructor or professor had an undergraduate teaching assistant? You might have been surprised when you realized that a peer was going to be teaching and perhaps grading you. An undergraduate teaching assistant mainly serves as a true assistant to a class during the academic year. They assist the course instructor with course materials and class preparation by prepping lab specimens, photocopying, maintaining the course website, or setting up AV equipment. They also lead laboratory or discussion sessions; and assist the module instructor with the grading of quizzes, laboratory reports, and homework.
- Secondary School Teaching Assistants: The activities, condition of service, and responsibilities of secondary school teaching assistants vary from those of graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants. A secondary school teaching assistant position is determined by the supervising teacher. They may be required to assist students with their work, take attendance, and ensure that the classroom is in good shape.
- Elementary Teaching Assistants: An elementary teaching assistant is an adult who is hired to help a teacher with class-related duties and chores which are similar to those encountered in middle and secondary school settings. Often called paraprofessionals, the elementary school teaching assistant is generally hired on a contract that lasts the entire academic year at least. They aid with multiple tasks within the school and can be hired in special education as well.
Teaching Assistant Job Description
Below are the teaching assistant job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a teaching assistant job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
Depending on the level of experience, a teaching assistant is required to;
- Perform administrative duties, prepare the class, and clear away after the class to ensure effective teaching and learning.
- Read to pupils in a group, as a class, or individually.
- Promote the emotional, mental, and social development of students and report any challenges that arise.
- Ensure that the pupils engage and pay attention when learning so that they can become independent learners.
- Monitor and document the student’s progress or vice versa.
- Provide regular and detailed feedback to teachers and parents.
- Help the main teacher in managing students with special education needs and challenging behaviors whilst enhancing positive behavior.
- Administer first aid to pupils involved in classroom accidents.
- Provide support during an examination, school trips, and teacher absences.
- Support with extracurricular activities such as games, playtime, school club sessions, breakfast, and lunchtime duties.
- Create art displays of pupils’ artwork where applicable.
- Assist teachers to prepare lesson plans, schemes of work, and lesson notes.
- Monitor class schedules and students’ attendance.
- Set up projectors, laboratory specimens, and equipment before classes or lessons.
- Assist teachers with grading assessments.
- Work with smaller groups of students for remedial teaching or reinforcing the learning process.
- Give extra help to students needing a special accommodation or students struggling with concepts and theories.
- Assist students with learning disabilities or students whose first language isn’t English.
- Attend parent conferences, faculty and departmental meetings, and training classes.
- Collaborate with the teacher to discover students’ challenges and proffer solutions.
- Observe and comply with the rules and regulations of the class, state, and institution respectively.
- Make sure the students are safe during field trips, throughout the institution, and within the classroom.
- Be aware of and help students who need one-on-one guidance.
- Clarify and explain the teaching and learning instructions.
- Ensure the students can use the provided equipment and materials.
- Implement the agreed behavior management strategy with consistency and efficacy.
- Comply with the institutional and legal requirements for maintaining the health, safety, and security of everyone in the learning environment.
Becoming a teaching assistant has great rewards albeit challenges; if you are interested in turning students and children into better learners, you will need to gain relevant experience, earn certifications and grow your skills. The Qualifications for teaching assistants include;
- Teaching assistants applying for an entry-level position require basic numeracy and literacy skills. These can be obtained by enrolling for and passing senior secondary school certificate examinations or equivalent in mathematics and English. They must also have knowledge and experience working with children of different age groups.
- Qualifications and experience in teaching assistant-related areas or fields such as nursery, childcare, youth, or playwork can also suffice.
- Certifications such as the Level 3 award in supporting learning and teaching in schools, level 2 award in support work in schools, and level 1 award in preparing to work in school can provide teaching assistants with a useful introduction to the industry and an understanding of the requirements and technicalities needed to work with children in special, primary, or secondary school. In addition, these certifications can be an added advantage when job hunting.
- Training and apprenticeship in a school setting under the supervisor of a headteacher or professor. Individuals applying for graduate teaching assistant roles will need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the field of interest.
- A candidate seeking an undergraduate education assistant role must be enrolled in the particular course of study and possess prior experience working as an education assistant in a special, secondary, or elementary school.
- Internships, teaching practice experiences, and paid or unpaid voluntary teaching assistant experience is desirable by employers and hiring managers.
- Certifications, skills, and experience in sign languages and first aid are important and desirable.
- Any work experience in educational settings, tutorial centers, nurseries, summer camps, and sporting activities is preferable. Degrees with practical placements such as education, youth work, and childhood studies can count for experience as well.
An excellent teaching assistant should possess skills that enable them to be patient and compassionate when dealing with students. They should muster a positive and creative approach to enable them to adapt easily to the job. Below are some of the essential skills a teaching assistant should have;
Verbal communication and listening skills: While active listening enables the teaching assistant to understand the students, verbal communication skills can make the teaching assistant motivate and encourage them to learn new things.
Sensitivity and understanding: An education assistant must be sensitive to the students’ plights, worries, concerns, or excitement. You should be able to understand when they need special attention or help with their class or extracurricular activities.
Patience and flexibility: Patience is needed to stay calm in stressful situations. Being an education assistant is not an easy job; often, you might be stressed out or infuriated by the children’s behaviors. Your ability to stay calm in such circumstances is crucial to success in the role. Similarly, being as flexible as possible is a great quality of a teaching assistant. You might be asked to work with students that are struggling to learn or face other problems that may ascend.
Creativity and computer skills: Students that attend special education need schools often struggle with the conventional ways of learning. Therefore, a teaching assistant must be creative enough to develop alternatives to teach and coach them. In relation, a teaching assistant must be able to work on computers; remember, you may be required to enter students’ results as part of your duties. Moreover, excellent computer skills enable the teaching assistants to digitalize their teaching methods, thereby, lessening the cumbersome paperwork involved.
Lesson planning skills: This is a skill that applies to the teaching profession. The possession of a lesson planning skill aids the education assistant to demonstrate their ability to prepare, execute, and plan lessons to enhance the knowledge of the students.
How to Become a Teaching Assistant
The path to becoming a teaching assistant is neither complex nor especially arduous. The following tips will guide you on your journey and quest to get employment as a teaching assistant;
Complete your secondary school education: Completing your secondary school education or equivalent is the first phase or step to becoming a teaching assistant. It is a requirement for admission in most post-secondary schools.
Understand the requirements for the role in your location: Research and understand the requirements for teaching assistant positions in your location, state, or community respectively. This can be in form of qualifications, skills, job description, or working experience; it may vary from one place to another.
Pursue a bachelor’s or associate degree in education or any related area: Since many educational institutions demand an associate degree or evidence that you are working towards a bachelor’s degree to become an education assistant, enroll for a major in childhood education or special education.
Complete a teaching assistant internship: As you pursue an education degree, try and complete an internship on teaching assistance in your location. This will allow you to add relevant professional experience with academics.
Get a license to practice as a teaching assistant: Once you are familiar with any requirements and have completed your education and relevant certifications, you can apply for a teaching assistant license locally and nationally. If successful and approved, the license authorizes you to work with a teacher or professor and specifies that you will work as an entry-level employee.
Apply for teaching assistant positions: Peruse through educational institutions and schools to find openings for education assistants and apply.
Where to work
Teaching assistant jobs and employment are found in;
- Primary and elementary schools.
- Independent schools
- Special Education Needs Schools
- Secondary schools
- Colleges and sixth forms
- Vocational centers.
- Religious organizations
- Summer camps and community centers
- Preschools, middle schools, and childcare centers.
Teaching Assistant Salary Scale
Again, the salary or remuneration of teaching assistants varies according to location, years of experience, educational institution, and type of teaching assistant position. For example, a graduate teaching assistant earns more than an elementary teaching assistant. Extra certification and qualification also play vital roles in the salary structure. Therefore, a graduate teaching assistant earns around 80,000NGN to 165,000NGN per month. Conversely, an elementary or secondary school teaching assistant earns between 12,000NGN to 58,000NGN respectively. The salary covers all associated benefits such as health and transportation.