An educational assistant works with the main classroom teacher to perform auxiliary tasks required (such as tasks the teacher cannot complete independently). The role is often very broad; educational assistants may help with instruction, grade tests and exams, supervise students during recess and lunch, meet with students for one-on-one counseling, and perform any number of other tasks. Ultimately, the assistant's responsibilities are contingent on the needs of each individual classroom. Traditionally, assistants work alongside teachers in the classroom and meet with teachers regularly before and after class to coordinate lesson plans and discuss class progress.
Both public and private schools hold educational assistant positions. Typically, educational assistants work full time, though part time positions also exist. This job requires strong communication skills, particularly with children; educational assistants need to be able to relay information simply and concisely, while also understanding and engaging with the concerns of their students. Educational assistants must be willing to administer punishment for unruly behavior and should have patience with students facing academic or personal struggles. Additionally, an educational assistant must be able to follow the lesson plans of the main instructor. They must also be able to maintain order in the classroom.
Most educational assistants have at least an associate's degrees in education or a related field, although requirements vary from employer to employer. Often, assistants have specialized education and/or experience in the coursework they are teaching or in human/child development.
Educational Assistant Tasks
- Maintain a safe and sanitary learning environment.
- Set up and implement lessons, snacks and other activities.
- Assist special needs students with translations, physical assistance or other aid.
- Supervise students in a variety of settings, curtailing behavior problems.
- Tutor and support learning for students.