Teaching assistants provide clerical support to teachers and instructional support to children in learning classes. Guided by the teacher's lessons plans and directions, teaching assistants help children learn and better understand their class material and prepare for examinations. The advantage of working with a teaching assistant as a teacher is that the children in your classroom will benefit from individualized attention whenever needed, so that the process of assuming knowledge and behavior is more successful. Also, teaching assistants supervise children in their recreational activities, in the cafeterias, schoolyards and hallways. They help in the preparations of a lesson with adequate materials and equipment.
But in some cases teaching assistant perform almost exclusively clerical tasks for the teacher. This means monitoring children outside the classroom in their non-instructional activities and helping the teacher with lesson documentation and preparation. In other cases, the teaching assistant jobs refer to specializing in a single or a few subjects, such as math or sciences. Working with the teacher in laboratories could be another of their responsibilities.
Teaching Assistant Job Prospects
The job prospects for this field of activity are encouraging. As the population grows, school enrollments increase, and more schools and instructional institutions, public or private, appear. The population has become more aware of the educational process in the last few decades, and parents are more and more concentrated on the quality of the education that their children receive. Specialized schools, child centers and even religious organization continue to appear creating job opportunities for teaching assistants.
This is a fairly easy position to obtain, given that in most of the cases there is no need for more than a high school degree. The best opportunities are available if you have a college degree and experience of at least two years in student education. Also, foreign language speakers and people with experience in working with disabled children have increased chances to get a job as teaching assistants, since these sectors of population also have the right to equal education. There is also an increase in the number of afterschool programs and holiday programs that create a lot of vacancies for teaching assistants.
But if you think of applying for a teaching assistant job, you should be aware that the financial compensation isn't that great and that most of the positions imply a part time working schedule (more than 40 percent of the employees in this position work part time). Also, the competition should be fairly high, since the qualifications aren't very demanding. Teaching assistant is a suitable position for student or graduates who are looking for temporary jobs or who find it difficult to obtain a full time job, or for qualified people who have to balance their personal and professional life. The career opportunities could be good in case of the specialized teaching assistants. They can complete their studies with additional pedagogical courses and exams in order to become full time teachers.
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