Generally speaking, an assistant teacher or teaching assistant is a person who aids a teacher or a professor with his instructional tasks. Assistant teachers usually perform both academic and clerical support in the classrooms. This allows the certified teachers to spend more time on lesson planning and teaching. While it isn't necessary to have a degree to obtain these positions, a few online classes in education can show potential employers that you are serious about this job.
Assistant teachers work directly under the supervision of teachers and the school administrators. Some assistant teachers also provide non-academic support, in the form of preparing classroom bulletin boards, taking attendance, monitoring playground time, and keeping the classroom in order.
If you are looking for teacher openings and applying as a teacher assistant, here are some rules for facilitating the process:
- Determine the level of education where it would make the most sense for you to assist, given your skill set, experience, and qualifications. Find out whether you are qualified for a teacher assistant position at that level. For elementary school jobs, for example, what are the requirements of the particular school system that you wish to target?
- Decide in which districts or individual schools you would most like to work.
- Contact the Human Resources departments of the schools and find out about their application processes and requirements.
- Go online and look for vacancies and employment postings on the internet. This will be especially effective if you go directly to job sites which specifically target educational professionals and organizations.
- Attend job fairs and follow the appropriate procedures for applying to featured jobs.
- Always update your curriculum vitae. This essential piece of paper represents the very first impression that a potential employer may have of you, and therefore deserves your utmost attention. Read it closely; be sure to correct any typographical errors, as having typos and grammatical errors won't make a very good first impression.
- Make sure that you fill out the necessary paperwork and submit the required documents promptly when requested to do so by your potential employers.
- If you are presently in a teaching position, invite a potential employer to observe you in action in the classroom. This should give him or her an idea of how you handle yourself in the classroom environment and will give him insight into your behavior when you are not an interviewee, but a teacher in your element.
- Do your best to put together a professional portfolio to present to your interviewer during a face-to-face interview.
- When at an interview, make sure to dress appropriately for the position you want; exude confidence, and don’t forget to smile!
- If and when you receive an offer, it is best to inform the school of your decision to either accept or reject the offer as soon as you have made it. This ensures that you will retain a pleasant working relationship with the school, whether or not you decide to accept the offer. It is always a good idea to retain contacts for future reference.
As with all job-hunting activities, the key virtues in finding a teacher assistant job are patience and perseverance. Keep your chin up, enhance your skills with online coursework, and continue looking up job leads until you find one that works for you.