What Does an Instructional Aide Do?

An instructional aide, also known as a teacher assistant or teacher’s aide, assists a teacher in the classroom performing a variety of tasks. Instructional aides work in a variety of settings, from elementary schools to universities, and their responsibilities differ depending on the grade level. Helping students in the classroom, grading papers, monitoring students during examinations, preparing lessons, and assisting the teacher in setting up equipment for activities are all common responsibilities. While an instructional aide at a primary school may be responsible for all of these tasks, one at a college may have fewer responsibilities or focus on specific tasks.

Because instructional aides play such a significant role in elementary and secondary schools, they perform a variety of clerical duties. Recording grades for the teacher, printing copies of worksheets or tests, taking daily attendance, organizing and cleaning the classroom, stocking school supplies, and setting up audiovisual equipment before lessons are some of the most common tasks. An instructional aide may also assist the teacher in monitoring the students’ behavior and enforcing the school’s disciplinary policies when necessary. This usually entails keeping an eye on the students during recess, lunch, field trips, and, on occasion, after-school activities.

In addition to educational responsibilities, the instructional aide frequently works with groups of students during activities. He or she may monitor group projects, listen to students read from a book, or guide students through experiments. It is becoming more common for instructional aides to assist students with disabilities, allowing them to provide one-on-one assistance. The instructional aide may have multiple responsibilities for students with special needs, such as assisting the student in learning life skills and providing extensive tutoring in the student’s weaker subjects. If there are students in the classroom who are not native speakers of the primary language, the instructional aide may also assist the student in learning the necessary language skills.

University students may also assist professors in the classroom, but their responsibilities are more focused than those in elementary and secondary schools. At the college level, instructional aides typically grade papers, monitor students during exams, and provide tutoring. Some may also teach lower-level classes independently or in collaboration with the professor. Graduate students may fill jobs at the college level, but they may also be filled outside hires. Working as an instructional aide can earn graduate students college credit and pay, but some positions are just for experience.