Career Profile: Teacher Assistant
Teachers have rewarding careers in which they help groups of students learn, grow, and fulfill their potential. But with classrooms full of children and a big curriculum to work through, they cannot do it alone. Teacher Assistants, or Teacher Aides, play a very important role in helping to ensure students get the most out of their education. The road to becoming a Teacher Assistant is a little simpler than the Teacher role itself, but offers plenty of its own rewards.
Teacher Assistants perform various roles in and outside of the classroom. Whether they are preparing visual aids for lessons, or supervising students in the cafeteria, schoolyard, or on field trips, they are giving the Teacher more time to prepare tests and the curriculum. An Assistant will often be tutoring individual students, and may be assigned to children with special needs. It is a necessary role to ensure students are always being taken care of, by working as a team with the Teacher to complete the many things that need to be done.
To become a Teacher Assistant, one can take many different courses in educational programming or child development. This college or university education, coupled with tutoring and teaching experience in different capacities, can help with getting hired at a school. It does not necessarily lead to becoming a Teacher, which requires specialized training and a Bachelor’s in Education. An Assistant can expect to make a starting salary of about $26,000, and this could go up to approximately $42,000. This also depends on the region and type of school. There can be a significant amount of competition, similar to people looking to become Teachers. Fortunately, there are many schools and opportunities as long as one is willing to travel a bit to get there.
Teacher Aides need to have sensitivity and lots of patience to complete their duties. They work with a variety of children in different situations, such as large groups, one-on-one, and those with special needs. This can be extremely stressful. On top of the direct work with students, there is also a lot of paperwork to complete, such as lesson materials and grading student submissions. Assistants work during normal school hours and during the regular school year. They will have to take some of that paperwork home to complete. Besides getting to have a huge impact on children’s lives, Aides also have the benefit of the flexibility of the school schedule. They can pursue other goals or work during the summer months, which can help balance out the stress from the school year.
Being a Teacher Assistant could lead to becoming a Teacher, but it could also pave the way to other roles in the field of education. One may want to focus on writing or editing classroom materials, or work in the office at a school. There are even many cases of people from other industries becoming a Teacher Aide later in life. These people bring years of experience from a specific field, and they can use this background to become a Teacher Assistant in that subject in a high school setting.
Teacher Assistants help make the classroom possible. They take on a lot of the responsibilities a Teacher does and acts as a necessary support. Those interested in the career can start by volunteering as a tutor and consider what age group of students they prefer. Education has its stresses and challenges, but the rewards are plentiful.
OCAS. “Education / Teaching / Teaching Assistant.” https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/programs/education-community-and-social-services/education-teaching-teaching-assistant
PayScale. “Teacher Assistant Salary.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Teacher_Assistant/Hourly_Rate
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