What Does an Educational Assistant Do?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Grading assignments may be one responsibility of an educational assistant.
Grading assignments may be one responsibility of an educational assistant.

An educational assistant, sometimes known as a teaching assistant or TA, is an education professional who works with students, teachers, and parents to develop and implement various educational strategies to promote learning for individual students. The specific job functions of an educational assistant will vary depending on the student population with which he or she will work; a TA at the college level, for example, will usually be responsible for teaching entry-level courses, while an ed assistant at the high school or primary level may work with students in need of extra guidance and attention.

Most educational assistants have at least some familiarity with different pedagogical methods and theories.
Most educational assistants have at least some familiarity with different pedagogical methods and theories.

At the high school or primary level, the educational assistant is likely to work in conjunction with the head teacher to implement lesson plans and tend to students in need of extra guidance. Sometimes the educational assistant is a college student working toward a teaching credential, while in other cases he or she may already have such credentials. The assistant may work with one student or with a group of students, and the assistant may or may not have a specific area of focus. Some assistants, for example, may have specific training in dealing with special education students, while others may have broader training to work with a wide variety of student types.

Some educational assistants are working toward a teaching degree.
Some educational assistants are working toward a teaching degree.

Sometimes the educational assistant will be responsible for delivering instruction to the entire class., but this is rare. It is most often done when the assistant is a college student working toward a teaching credential, as all students must complete a certain amount of in-class instruction in order to graduate and be considered for full teaching certification. Other situations may call for the assistant to deliver instruction as well, but in most cases, the educational assistant will only teach parts of lessons or teach full lessons to part of a class. The primary goal of this professional is to help the lead teacher deliver instruction more effectively and efficiently.

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    • Grading assignments may be one responsibility of an educational assistant.
      By: Olga Grygorashyk
      Grading assignments may be one responsibility of an educational assistant.
    • Most educational assistants have at least some familiarity with different pedagogical methods and theories.
      By: Monkey Business
      Most educational assistants have at least some familiarity with different pedagogical methods and theories.
    • Some educational assistants are working toward a teaching degree.
      By: Monkey Business
      Some educational assistants are working toward a teaching degree.