Job Description of a Teaching Assistant Level 1

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Job Description of a Teaching Assistant Level 1
Apple for a teacher (an apple for the teacher image by Peter Baxter from Fotolia.com)

A level one teaching assistant is responsible for helping a teacher with the instruction and care of students. She helps prepare and organise teaching materials and assists the teacher with preparing lesson plans. A teaching assistant spends the majority of her time in a classroom setting working typical school hours.

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Function

The main function of a level one teaching assistant is to work under the direction and supervision of a classroom teacher as well as provide general help and support to the teacher and students. A level one teaching assistant provides an extra set of hands and eyes for the classroom, providing additional instruction and guidance to students who may need further help understanding the curriculum or assignment.

Activities and Responsibilities

During instruction, a teaching assistant encourages and instructs students to interact with one another and engage in activities and instructions led by a teacher. She supervises the activities of the children while helping to ensure their understanding and comprehension of the material being taught. In general, she contributes to the work ethic that the school hopes to achieve for the students.

In addition to helping students in the classroom, a teaching assistant helps escort students around the school campus and with supervising students while they are not in the classroom, including lunchtime, recess, and before and after school. She accompanies teachers, parents and students during field trips.

Education and Requirements

A level one teaching assistant must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Most positions require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate degree. Some may require a bachelor's degree.

In addition to the educational requirements, school districts require a teaching assistant to pass an extensive background check and be fingerprinted and photographed before being allowed to help teach children.

Work Environment

Level 1 teaching assistants works in a variety of settings. Positions are available in preschools, child care centres, religious and community centres, but most work in classrooms in elementary, middle and secondary schools.

A teaching assistant spends the day equally sitting and standing. Approximately 40 per cent of teaching assistants only work part time. Most teaching assistants work a traditional nine-month school schedule, typically having time off for holidays, winter, spring and summer breaks.

Wages and Benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, the median annual wage of a teaching assistant was £14,430. The middle 50 per cent of teachers assistants earned between £11,446 and £18,317. The lowest 10 per cent earned less than £9,971, and the highest 10 per cent earned more than £22,087.

A full-time level 1 teaching assistant usually receives health, dental, 401k and vacation benefits. A teaching assistant who works part time does not usually qualify for benefits through the school district.

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