Applying for Aide Jobs
In some buildings all the aides are fully certified teachers waiting to get a full-time teaching position, so the competition is very stiff when a position opens. In other cases, the aides have very little education background, so you would be considered over-qualified and might not get the position.
Because aides are staff members, principals often don’t see them as needing or wanting a full-time teaching position. So, they may not think of that person as someone to hire. The principal may also consider that the aide is already a full-time employee and they are familiar with the school. However, many IA’s are part-time, making an hourly wage and without benefits. This means less money and less say-so in the classroom.
Many districts offer an IA job to someone they really like who is certified, but for whom there is not a full-time teaching position yet. Being an IA in those districts is the fast-track to a teaching position.
The only way to know the situation is to talk with other teachers in the school or district and to ask the person interviewing you. Do not be afraid to say, “I’d love to take that position for a year, but I am supporting myself (my family) and cannot afford it. Is there another position available?”
Some teachers see their aides as a full partner in the education taking place in their classroom. They include them in all planning and fully respect their opinion and insight. They may even be considered as a co-teacher.
Visit the school. Ask to sit in on classes where there is an aide. Get to know an aide in the school system so you can ask questions and learn more about what you would be doing.
The educational requirements for classroom aides vary by state and school district. Most employers require a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Classroom aides employed by Title I schools, however, are required to have a minimum of a two-year degree, two years of college, or pass a state or local assessment exam. All classroom aides must complete on-the-job training, which includes learning classroom procedures, school system policies, classroom instructional material, and adequate computer skills.
The duties of classroom aides include offering clerical support to the primary teacher by grading tests and papers, reviewing and grading homework assignments, as well as keeping health and attendance records of students. Classroom aides also provide individualized attention to students, teach instructional material planned by primary teachers in their absence, and keep the classroom neat and organized. They also attend students on playgrounds, in lunchrooms, and other activities outside the classroom.
The skills of classroom aides can vary from being specialized in specific subject areas such as science and computers to those needed to provide special education students and students with disabilities individualized attention. Additional one-on-one instructional skills a classroom aide may acquire are those necessary to instruct non-native speakers of English and students enrolled in remedial education programs, as well as skills necessary to work with preschool children during feeding and playtime activities.
Read How to Be a Super TA for some insights about the role of teacher’s aide or teaching assistant.
Read about co-teaching and working with a paraprofessional:
Co-Teaching: 201, How to Support ELLs
By Andrea Honigsfeld and Maria Dove
Use these guidelines to jumpstart co-taught lessons by general education and ELL specialists.
Countdown to Co-Teaching: Are You Ready?
By Lisa Lawter
Co-teaching is one way to reach the diverse needs of all students. Effective co-teaching models and advice on getting started are shared in this article.
5 Strategies for Working with Paraprofessionals
By Lydia Gerzel-Short and Greg Conderman
The number of paraprofessionals is rising and, with support, they can be an asset to any classroom. Because teachers are often unprepared to work with paras, you may find the strategies in this article helpful for collaborating with them in your classroom.
Applications for teaching assistants or teaching aides are available from school district websites, where you will also find job descriptions and other information.