Working as a Teaching Assistant?

Confident teacher explaining lesson to pupils

The job of a teaching assistant gives you preliminary experience and helps you decide if teaching is a career worth your shot. Working as a teaching assistant entails supporting learning activities in the classroom. It’s like fueling the teaching process to help the children understand better. A teaching assistant can be assigned to a single student, a group of student or the entire class which makes it a little too hectic. Teaching assistants or simply call them assistant teachers ensure that the job of a teacher is made seamless and that could most times imply that the he/she assist students in understanding better, preparing them for tests, helping them with assignments and preparing the classroom before the teacher comes in. 

Roles of a Teaching Assistant 

The average life of a teaching assistant could see him/her doing anyone of the following or even two or three of them simultaneously.

  • Listening to pupils and learning of their academic challenges while charting ways to resolve them
  • Help in the planning of some of the lessons
  • Taking care of pupils who are injured, abused or bullied 
  • Device means to enable pupils learn better, like using art works, comic  avenues and pictograms 
  • Assisting in extra-curricular activities like sports, after-school clubs, revisions prior to exams, school excursions, lunchtime and breakfast duties and many others 
  • Relay learning challenges of pupils to teachers and also give teachers progress reports of pupils 
  • Maintain surveillance on pupils while they learn to ensure they are safe and not distracted from the on-going teaching process 
  • Monitor their progress 
  • Assisting pupils in developing both emotionally and socially. It isn’t all about just academics here. 
  • Dealing with pupils who have issues relating with others. Could be timidity, paranoia or any other psychological challenge

Working Hours for a Teaching Assistant 

Conventional working hours for teachers apply here – Mondays to Fridays. However, teaching assistants could stay behind even after the teachers have left after working hours to tidy up and support the pupils also in wrapping up for the day. They are also required to be on-time to welcome pupils and get them ready for the day’s activities. 

Summer schools could also demand the presence of teaching assistants for an extra pay though.  Every other activity beyond the school terms are paid for away from their normal salaries. It’s quite difficult for a teaching assistant to go on a casual leave, absent him/herself from work or taking a time off in the middle of a session.

However, there are exceptions. In cases where there are plausible reasons for the TA to be absent like the death of loved one, emergency situations, calling in sick, weddings, funerals and the likes. 

Other Things to Note about Being a Teaching Assistant 

  • The profession is dominated by females who are seen as more appealing and caring than their male counterparts
  • They work with pupils from different backgrounds and so it might be quite daunting addressing their needs individually
  • All their jobs are confined to the classroom except for extracurricular activities