Roles of a physical education teaching assistant

Written by vanessa newman
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Roles of a physical education teaching assistant
A physical education teaching assistant has a range of duties. (Exercise ball image by StephenD from

A teaching assistant is critical for the organisation and management of any physical education class whether it is for kindergarten-age students or college-age individuals. As a physical education teaching assistant, you would likely work in a school setting, but camps, after-school programs, spiritual organisations and private school settings may need your skills as well. In the role of teaching assistant, you will have a range of responsibilities: instruction, classroom organisation and management, administrative duties, special education and more. In some states, you will need to take an assessment of teaching assistant skills to be hired as a physical education teaching assistant.

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Maintain class structure

A physical education teaching assistant helps the physical education teacher with maintaining class structure. You might greet students and set up for class by bringing out equipment and getting a field or classroom ready for that day. Once activities have begun, you might keep time and score or move students through exercises and drills so that everyone participates. As the end of class approaches, you might help with cleanup or let students know how much time they have left to complete tasks.

Manage behaviour

A large part of your role as physical education teaching assistant is to manage behaviour during class or practice time. You will need to reinforce the rules that the main teacher has outlined and discipline students who are not following them. You may also need to address any bullying, unfairness or dangerous play and handle specific behavioural issues like talking and fighting.

If there are students with special needs, this will likely fall under your domain if you are properly trained for this role. There are specific regulations about what you can and cannot do instructionally and legally while working with individuals with disabilities or special needs.

Instructional role

Depending upon the grade level, state regulations and preferences of the lead teacher or professor, you may teach some classes or sections of class or fill in when the main teacher is not present. You may assist the teacher with lesson planning, classroom facilitation and discussion and more. You might provide one-on-one coaching of individuals with specific needs. You might demonstrate equipment, exercises, drills or sport manoeuvres to the class, too.

Administrative role

A physical education teaching assistant might record or enter grades for students. You could be responsible for attendance or lesson plan documentation. Also, equipment ordering, calibration and maintenance could be assigned to you. You might be involved in calling parents, answering their questions and participating in parent-teacher conferences. If the lead teacher needs help with photocopying, getting supplies or making special arrangements for children with handicaps, this could also be your role.

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