Working under the supervision of classroom teachers, middle school teacher aides provide valuable contributions in and out of the classroom. Middle school teacher aides, who are also referred to as teacher assistants, paraprofessionals and instructional aides, tend to be part-time workers. They sometimes work for only part of the school day and often perform tasks for multiple classes at one time.
Reviewing Materials with Students
While teachers create lesson plans and follow through with them, aides assist in reinforcing newly learned material. Aides circulate through classrooms after lessons to help individual students with assignments. Aides also gather students into small groups to review and discuss new material. This is especially true at the middle school level, where students are learning to think critically about concepts and real-life matters. These tasks require strong instructional skills and the ability to communicate well. Aides at the middle school level must have advanced knowledge of subject areas. Middle schools often seek aides with education beyond a high school diploma. Teachers want aides with two- or four-year college degrees or significant professional experience in a field related to the subject matter.
Adolescent students bring challenges for middle school teachers. Some students are unruly and lash out more than elementary students. Students can be confrontational and pose a physical threat to teachers due to their size and strength. Bullying, tobacco use and other problems often begin in middle school. Therefore, teacher aides at the middle school level must be strong and must possess the ability to discipline students. The aides also must be intimately aware of the school’s policies regarding behavior and violations of the school’s conduct code.
Teacher aides in middle schools often help to track attendance. Because students in middle school move from classroom to classroom, attendance-taking is a task that must be performed multiple times each day. Aides also help teachers with recording grades. Students at the middle school level complete many assignments, sometimes featuring essay writing and long, thoughtful explanations to questions. Therefore, aides must be able to grade essay-style writing and must know how to mark essays for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
Teacher aides in middle schools help teachers by prepping for classroom lectures, art projects, science experiments and demonstrations. Aides make copies of tests and quizzes and take-home assignments, prepare computers for use, set up audio and video materials and gather the items needed to conduct classroom experiments or to hold demonstrations.
2016 Salary Information for Teacher Assistants
Teacher assistants earned a median annual salary of $25,410 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, teacher assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $20,520, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $31,990, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,308,100 people were employed in the U.S. as teacher assistants.
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