What’s it like being a teacher aide?

Being a teacher aide is a great way to make a big difference to students’ lives without the increased workload of being a teacher. We spoke to some teacher aides throughout Australia to find out more about the role.

Tes Editorial

As a teacher aide, you’ll be providing assistance to the teacher in the classroom. This mainly involves working with children with additional learning needs on a one-to-one basis or in small groups. In terms of qualifications to become a TA, you will need a Certificate III in educational support.

Why become a teacher aide?

Viki Jackson, a TA in an Independent school in Queensland, became a teacher aide when her registration ended. “My registration as a teacher had lapsed and I thought it would be a great alternative.”

As a former teacher, Viki explains being a teacher aide is a great way to work with children, but with a reduced workload. “You get to work with kids within school hours, but don't have to do prep or after-school activities or write reports or deal with parents. In other words, all the joy none of the hassles of teaching.”

One teacher aide in a Catholic school, who declined to be named, said she became a teacher aide to fit around her childcare responsibilities. “Being a mother, the job offered the perfect opportunity to work in a role I enjoyed while also offering the perfect working hours to enable me to be home after school and on school holidays with my own children.”

One of the reasons why some people become a teacher aide is because of the difference you can make to a student. Tracey Bradfield, who works as a TA in a state school in Queensland, says: “When the student finally “gets it”, or you see that you are making a difference.”

What does being a teacher aide involve?

The work of a TA requires providing teaching assistance to children with special educational needs.

Viki explains what her role involved: “My role involves working with ascertained students. Which means they have some kind of disability whether it be ADHD, or Asperger’s, or intellectually impaired.”

The teacher aide is given direction by the classroom teacher on what this support is, which can include some classroom teaching. However, to be a TA you will need to be good at taking direction.

One TA adds: “Our job is mainly to reinforce what has been taught within the classroom and to work one-on-one with students or a small group to enhance pre-teaching as directed by the teacher."

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