Teaching assistants take the burden off teachers. The teachers that the assistants serve will often call upon them to perform a variety of duties that the instructors themselves do not have time for. The role of the assistant--often called a paraprofessional, or sometimes simply a "parapro"--is to help out with the students in the classroom while the teacher concentrates on delivering the lessons or on planning.
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Communicating With Teacher
The job requires communication between the adults in the classroom. According to the Careerplanner website, your responsibility as a teacher's aide is to have a discussion with the teacher about her expectations of you in the classroom. Some teachers want the paraprofessional to work one-on-one with the children, while others will want you to run to the office, for instance, and let them handle the children themselves. In any event, a clear understanding of what your duties are is essential to make this relationship beneficial to you the aide, the teacher, and the children you are serving.
As a paraprofessional, your teacher may ask you to move around the room to see if there are students who are having difficulty with the material the instructor is presenting in class. If a student asks for help, he will look to you to assist him. Your relationship with the student provides a one-on-one professional relationship that the teacher may not always be available for.
Working With the Disabled
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, as the classroom becomes more inclusive, combining students with special needs with the mainstream population, paraprofessionals will be more in demand. In that capacity, your responsibility as a teacher's aide will be to escort a special-needs child or a group of such children to and from their class, supervising their behaviour in the halls, making sure their passage is a safe one. Your job is to make sure that the children do nothing to endanger themselves or others. You are also responsible for training the children in proper grooming habits and table manners. You also might even have to assume toileting responsibilities.
For those with physical disabilities, your duties will include assisting a child who cannot see or hear very well, taking notes for her, or leading her around the school, teaching her how to use her cane.
As a teacher's assistant, your job may be to observe a student's progress as a reader or a writer. You may have to take notes or log onto a computer. According to the Careerplanner website, you will be responsible for recording such observations. You may do this by filing a written report, or graphing data onto a computer program so that the teacher may then communicate the data to the child's parents or legal guardians.
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