Job Title: Teacher Assistant
Type of Company: I work for a private Catholic school in Manchester, NH.
Education: BA, Corporate Communication, Ithaca College
Previous Experience: I worked as a substitute teacher before moving into a permanent position as a teacher aide at the same school.
Job Tasks: As a teacher aide, my principal responsibility is to provide support to the classroom teachers that I am assigned to. I work in the Kindergarten, first and second grade classrooms. My schedule changes from day to day but on Wednesday, for example, I am assigned to Grade 1 from 9:00AM - 12:00PM. At 12:00, I eat lunch. At 12:30, I supervise the grades that are at lunch recess. And at 1:00 I report to Kindergarten and remain there for the rest of the day, which ends at 3:00PM.
The teachers' needs vary from day to day and from week to week. In this grade range, I frequently work with children one-on-one who need assistance with reading, letter recognition, phonics and/or math. Sometimes the teacher needs me to perform "assessments" with students. Assessments are teaching tools that are used to determine what areas a student has mastered or may still be struggling with. They are very similar to a test that is given in later grades but, at this age level, the assessments are verbal and are done one-on-one. Other times I am asked to do photocopying, correcting papers or other lesson preparation projects. The key to my job is to be "flexible".
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that I work with children. There is nothing that compares to the excitement that I see on a child's face when he discovers that he's learned how to spell or read. My own children attend the same school, so we have the same schedule.
The worst part of my job is that I may be asked to do something that I am just not in the mood to do that day. Also, it can be difficult to balance different relationships with the teachers I work with and who are also the teacher's of my own children.
Job Tips: I believe that in any teaching position, you must love children. Children will test your patience, "push your buttons," and just simply get on your nerves. In the end, your goal is always to nurture them and help them grow. Before making the decision to become a teacher aide, it is important to get some experience working with children either through volunteering or working in a daycare prior to committing to a whole school year of working with children.
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