14 Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher Assistant

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Do you like to teach and work with children, but aren’t ready to be a full-fledged teacher in charge?

There’s a special place for you in the classroom as a teacher assistant (TA)!

TAs provide valuable support to full-time teachers and work closely with students as well.

Your job as a teacher assistant can make things run more smoothly in the classroom and improve the quality of education students receive in a school.

Here are some pros and cons of this profession to help you decide if it’s a viable career path for you.

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Pros of Being a Teacher Assistant

Every job has good points and bad.

By studying the pros and cons of a teacher assistant job in advance, you’ll know what to expect.

Here are some of the upsides of a teacher assistant job:

1. Diversity

The duties of a teacher assistant are many and varied.

It’s one of the things many TAs love about the job.

Your assistance with classroom prep, photocopying materials, grading papers, organizing student records, etc. frees a teacher to teach, which is his or her main job.

As a teacher assistant, you’ll also work closely with students to help them make academic progress.

You may work one on one with slower students, answer student questions or review their assignments to make sure they’re getting it right.

2. Personal Growth and Development

Working with professional teachers gives you on-the-job training you couldn’t get elsewhere.

You’ll learn instructional, time-management and organizational skills that can advance your career in the future.

Through daily interactions with students, you can develop strong communication and people skills that can be used to enhance your profession.

The experience you gain as a teacher assistant can help you be a better full-time teacher later on.

3. Job Fulfillment

As a teacher assistant, you’re in a good position to help your students succeed academically.

Seeing the positive results of your efforts on the job can be very fulfilling.

Through personal instruction, you can help students overcome learning difficulties and gain greater confidence in their abilities and skills.

Your contribution to the classroom can motivate students to reach their full potential.

You can have the satisfaction of knowing you’re shaping the lives of the next generation for the better.

4. Flexible Work Schedule

Teacher assistants have a great deal of flexibility in their work schedule.

You can work part-time or full-time in the classroom, putting in the same hours as a full-time teacher.

Depending on your place of employment, you can take the entire summer off or help with summer school part-time.

You’ll have time off to spend with your family on major holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

You can plan your vacation around school holidays without worrying about canceling plans at the last minute due to your job.

5. Build Relationships

A job as a teacher assistant provides opportunities to build relationships with students and their parents.

As you gain your students’ trust, they may confide in you concerning problems at home or with their peers.

You’ll be in a good position to counsel your students about personal issues or problems hindering their academic progress.

Your encouragement and support could help turn “problematic” students around.

Building a relationship with needy students could help salvage their future.

6. Career Advancement

Working as a TA gives you valuable experience that you can use to advance your teaching career later on.

You’ll have opportunities to learn from skilled teachers in different teaching environments.

You can glean tips from veteran teachers on planning curriculums, creating lesson plans, controlling a classroom and more.

You can gain experience teaching different grades and expand your knowledge of academic subjects that pique your interest.

A teacher assistant job could help kickstart a career as a full-fledged teacher upon completion of your Bachelor’s degree in the future.

7. Work in Community

As a teacher assistant, you work in community with full-time teachers, students and school staff.

You’re united in a common goal of helping children and teens receive a quality education.

Working with people who share the same vision and goals can give you motivation for your job.

The bond you share with your co-workers, students and school staff can give you a sense of belonging and pride.

Through team working with others, you can enjoy an amicable, non-competitive work environment.

Cons of Being a Teacher Assistant

Now that you know the pros of the job, it’s time to consider some of the cons of this profession, which may include the following:

1. Low Pay

The salary of a teacher assistant may vary from one school to the next, but, in general, it’s an underpaid profession.

If you’re the main breadwinner in your home, you may find it difficult to support your family on the income of a teacher assistant.

Many TAs get paid hourly and only for the time they’re actually on the job.

Depending on where you work, you may not qualify for benefits or paid holidays.

You may need to find part-time employment for the summer months to meet your budget.

2. Disrespectful or Unruly Students

In most schools today, public or private, TAs run the risk of dealing with disrespectful or unruly students.

Unruly teens can disrupt the entire classroom, making it difficult for you to do your job.

As you’re only an assistant and not a “real teacher,” older students may not listen to you or treat you with respect.

You may not be viewed as an “authoritative figure” by your students, making it difficult for you to enforce the rules.

If confrontations arise, students may raise false accusations against you, putting you at risk of losing your job.

3. Heavy Workload

Some schools rely heavily on their teacher assistants, giving them quite a bit of responsibility.

If you’re helping more than one teacher at your school, you can expect to work even harder.

TAs often have to multi-task to keep up with their many tasks.

If multi-tasking isn’t your forte, you may have trouble keeping up with some of your assignments.

You may wind up working extra hours at home completing time-consuming projects like checking homework and grading exams in order to get it done.

4. Stress

As a new TA, you may have trouble keeping up with the fast pace of a large classroom.

A heavy work load may put you under undue pressure and stress.

Sometimes, a teacher assistant is asked to fill in for a teacher on short notice with little time to prepare.

It can be very stressful to take on a teacher’s responsibilities with little experience or training.

Working with children with learning disabilities or behavioral problems can be stressful as well.

5. Lack of Recognition for Your Work

Although teacher assistants make life easier for a full-time teacher, they don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

Lack of recognition can lead to dissatisfaction or discouragement with your profession.

A lot may be expected of you with little appreciation in return.

You may not be considered a valued member of the team due to your lack of education or experience.

You may feel that your talents and skills are overlooked and that you’re not living up to your full potential.

6. Undefined Duties

The job description of a teacher assistant is a bit ambiguous, leaving much up to the teacher to decide.

Different teachers may have different ideas of the role you should play in the classroom.

This can be confusing as to what your duties really are.

Some teachers may expect more of you than others, resulting in you doing more than your share of the work.

You may be asked to assume more of a teacher’s role without getting teacher benefits or pay.

7. Boredom

On the flip side, you may be stuck doing menial tasks in the classroom without opportunities to learn and grow.

If you’re not challenged in your work, it can become tedious and boring.

As an assistant, you may be discouraged from taking initiative in certain aspects of the job or expressing your creativity to the full.

You may feel stifled in your ability to make a difference in the lives of the students in your care.

14 Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher Assistant – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Teacher AssistantCons of Being a Teacher Assistant
1. Diversity1. Low Pay
2. Personal Growth and Development2. Disrespectful or Unruly Students
3. Job Fulfillment3. Heavy Workload
4. Flexible Work Schedule4. Stress
5. Build Relationships5. Lack of Recognition for Your Work
6. Career Advancement6. Undefined Duties
7. Work in Community7. Boredom

Should You Become a Teacher Assistant?

If teaching is your passion but you lack the credentials to be a full-fledged teacher, a position as a teacher assistant is a good place to start.

Working as a TA gives you a better idea of what’s required of a full-time teaching job.

A teacher assistant job will put you in direct contact with students, enabling you to learn and home-teaching skills.

You’ll gain hands-on classroom experience that can’t be acquired from books.

Your input as a teacher assistant can be instrumental in shaping and improving young lives for the better.

What could be more rewarding than that?

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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