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Job Profile: Language Arts Support Teacher

A language arts support teacher, also known as an instructional aide, paraprofessional, or paraeducator, provides instruction and guidance for students and assists the teacher with grading assignments and preparing materials for use in the classroom, which allows the teacher more time for classroom instruction and planning lessons. The teacher assistant shows students how to use equipment in a language arts laboratory and monitors their progress. When there’s an equipment malfunction, the assistant is usually responsible for reporting any equipment problems to the technical staff. The assistant keeps track of any repairs done to classroom equipment. Using the teacher’s lesson plans, the support teacher provides students with more individualized attention, including tutoring when necessary. The assistant records grades on assignments and tests, and keeps track of attendance and student progress records.

Salary

The average salary for a language arts support teacher is approximately $37,000. However, the salary may vary depending upon the school system, demographics, as well as the education of the assistant.

Beginning Salary

The beginning salary range for a language arts support teacher starts at approximately $20,136. However, this depends on whether the assistant is working in a public school system or a private school. Another factor which affects the salary of a teacher assistant is the state in which the teacher works.

Key Responsibilities

The key responsibilities of the language arts support teacher are to assist students with writing skills, reading, and speech. The assistant references and organizes research materials, corrects assignments, and evaluates students progress. The assistant may administer standardized testing. The support teacher instructs students on using equipment in a language arts laboratory. Students in small groups or individually may be instructed on fundamentals of English including capitalization, punctuation, grammar, composition, and reading comprehension. The support teacher assists the teacher with selecting and implementing study aids.

Necessary Skills

Since a language arts support teacher is responsible for the management of the classroom and managing student paperwork that the teacher would otherwise have to do, there are necessary skills the assistant must have. The most important are excellent written and verbal skills, and the ability to convey instructions to students. They must be able to assign lessons to students and assume responsibility in the teacher’s absence. They must effectively resolve conflicts between students and foster good student-teacher relationships. They must use a positive approach in dealing with students.

Degree and Education Requirements

In order to work as a language arts support teacher, the only prerequisite is to have at the minimum a high school diploma or equivalent GED. Students may enroll in a program to earn a career diploma as a teaching assistant. Students learn the basics of teaching age appropriate activities, relating to children and parents, planning relevant lessons, and teaching children with special needs. A college degree or related courses can advance the career of a teaching assistant. Some school districts offer tuition reimbursement if a teaching assistant gets their teaching license. More career opportunities can open up for teaching assistants who choose to work in special education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has determined that the demand for qualified teaching assistants is on the rise, opening up more job opportunities.

Pros and Cons (or Rewards and Challenges) Of This Position

There are pros and cons of working as a support teacher which should be taken into consideration when thinking about a teaching career. Working as a teacher is a demanding profession both intellectually and emotionally. A language arts support teacher faces challenges in their job but also reaps rewards of working with their students. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with parents. The teacher must be able to diplomatically deal with parents, no matter what the issue. Support teachers should be realistic in their expectations about the job to prevent them from getting frustrated easily. Teaching is also rewarding when the instructor is able to introduce children to new ideas about the world they live in and is able to challenge them so they grow intellectually and emotionally. It’s gratifying when a support teacher is able to expand a child’s world with new concepts that they’ll be able to use later in life.

Getting Started

If you’re interested in working as a language arts support teacher, it’s possible to get classroom experience without the necessary credentials. It’s the best way to find out if this profession is really for you. If you currently have a job or are going to school, you can volunteer your time to work as a classroom assistant. High school students often volunteer their time as teaching assistants and can receive academic credit for working with children in the classroom. The volunteer may also be a parent who works part-time, but wants to assist in the classroom. It could lead to a career change. Working as a volunteer with a child with special needs could lead to a teaching career in special eduction, where there is a great demand for qualified teaching assistants.

Future Outlook

The demand for qualified language arts support teachers will continue to grow over the coming years. This will be as a result of increased enrollments of students in public and private schools, and more children being enrolled in preschool and childcare facilities. As the demand for special education services increases, so will the demand for qualified teaching assistants. Many after school programs or programs for children with special needs hire support teachers for a limited number of hours each week. With additional education and a degree, a support teacher can advance toward a full-time teaching position. Support teachers who speak a second language are also in great demand to work with students whose primary language is something other than English.

Although a job as a language arts support teacher is demanding and challenging, it is very rewarding for someone who wants to be a part of providing children with learning tools to succeed in school and be competitive with their peers. Not only do teacher assistants play an important role in educating children, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to experience teaching children from different cultures.

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