Teaching assistant qualities

As the job title implies, a teaching assistant works closely with a teacher or professor to help the classroom run smoothly. Some teaching assistants help kindergartners learn their ABCs, while others work in the college classroom to help grade papers or even conduct their own sections of courses. No matter the level at which they teach, teaching assistants should possess a number of qualities that make them an effective educator.


A teaching assistant should possess strong leadership qualities because she will need to command the students' attention at times. Students should look up to the teaching assistant much like they would a teacher, as someone with the knowledge to help them succeed in the classroom. A teaching assistant can display leadership by using an authoritative voice in the classroom and guiding the students through problems and toward solutions.


Teaching assistants need to have strong communication skills as well. Though the teacher or professor will run the lesson or lecture, the teaching assistant will also help students learn the material. To do so, the teaching assistant will need to communicate clearly so that students can comprehend lesson content. He should be able to field students' questions about class content as well.


The teaching assistant must be approachable. Students should be comfortable going to the teaching assistant with questions or for help on confusing material. In large college classes in particular, professors rely on the teaching assistant to serve as the go-between for students. As a result, the teaching assistant needs to be someone who students can talk to about course content and ask for guidance. The teaching assistant needs to make herself accessible to students.


Because teaching assistants often provide clerical support for teachers, they should be well-organised. The teaching assistant might take roll call at the beginning of the school day, make sure all of the students are on the bus for a field trip or oversee students during recess. Teaching assistants need to make sure students are safe and under their supervision at all times since the teacher will rely on them for help.

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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

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