Teacher's Aide

Teacher’s aides are employed to assist teachers.  In some situations they might be volunteers (e.g. parents), but more usually they are paid employees. A teacher's aide may take pressure off a teacher allowing them to deal with larger numbers in a class, or they may be brought into a classroom because they have some specialist skill which the teacher might be lacking.

A teacher’s aide might be used to set up a classroom with laboratory equipment (for example) prior to the teacher using that equipment for a class. An aide may be used to provide one on one support to students during practical classes (e.g. a computer workshop, a practical science class, or a carpentry lesson).

There has been strong growth in opportunities for teacher's aides in schools over the past couple of decades. Although most positions were formerly found in special needs and pre-school teaching environments, these days many positions have been created in secondary education. Aides are particularly useful in practical-orientated school departments such as art and crafts, as well as sports. The growth in available positions is likely to continue.

Risks and Challenges
The role of an aide can be quite challenging depending on the school, the children, and the department the aide works in. Often aides need to arrive before teachers to prepare classrooms and they may then have to clean and tidy the classroom after the teacher and pupils have finished the lesson.

Sometimes aides are involved with taking classes and marking schoolwork. This can add to the hours of work. Aides may stand in for absent teachers or be asked to supervise classes when a teacher is not present.

How to become a Teacher’s Aide
Some schools may engage teacher’s aides as volunteers but usually they will advertise for, and employ, someone with a specific area of expertise that they require a teachers aide to work in (e.g. computers, art, sport or with disabled children).

A range of qualifications and short courses may be helpful for those wishing to secure work in this area. For instance and aide in an art department who has qualifications in graphic design, fine art, or other arts subjects would be looked upon favourably.

Useful personal skills include:

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to connect with children and form nurturing relationships
  • Able to supervise children
  • Willingness to provide help and support to teachers
  • Willingness to attend extracurricular activities in a supervisory role

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