What do teacher assistants really do, anyway?

If someone asked you what teacher assistants do in the classroom, could you answer the question?

While budget proposals coming from the Senate and Governor Pat McCrory call for cuts to funding for teacher assistants in grades K-3, let’s consider what TAs accomplish in the classroom every day.

From the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants:

Duties of a Teacher Assistant

Daily Routine

  • Teach small reading groups and math groups to meet Common Core Standards
  • Teach remediation groups for grades 3-5 (reading and math)
  • Teach Direction Instruction or other type of phonics program and keep records of student progress
  • Pick up the class lesson if the teacher is called out of the room, therefore instruction does not stop
  • Help teachers with lesson planning and preparing for the lesson
  • Help teachers with record keeping (Ex: grades, progress monitoring and money from home)
  • One on One instruction with a student who has been out for sickness or other reasons
  • Insure that EC student’s modes are met during the regular classroom time.
  • Sub for the teacher if she is required to attend a workshop during instructional time
  • Assist with PE
  • Help students choose books for their reading level from the media center
  • Guide students instruction while using laptops, computers, or Ipads
  • Give AIMs Web test for reading
  • Do Running Records on entire class so teacher can continue on with the other students
  • Monitor children during whole group instruction to keep students focused
  • Release Time for upper grade teachers (3rd – 5th)
  • Celebrate the A+ student, but TAs also celebrate the C+ with a student when you know that was the best they could do
  • Serve as ISS Instructors (In School Suspension) an intervention for keeping students in school with bad behavior instead of sending them home
  • Some Kindergarten Assistants may have to potty train a student, or teach them table manners. This is done in a way not to embarrass a student
  • Work with and help EC Students who are mainstreamed into a regular classroom ( Ex: autism, BEH, ADDHD, and Down Syndrome) TA’s commonly work with the special needs students
  • Change diapers of some EC Students
  • Monitor Recess as many as 45 to 50 students at a time
  • Monitor Lunchtime usually 2 classes at a time
  • Proctor End of Year test
  • Prepare folders to go home, one with work completed and one with homework
  • Stay after school to help students with homework for students who have parents that are unable to be home with the student


  • If there is not a nurse on campus, give med’s to students
  • Check sugar levels and other medical needs of students
  • Take First Responders training and work on the First Responder Team in case of an emergency
  • Take part in all emergency drills
  • When there are two people in a class, there is never a worry that the students will be left alone
  • Maintain cleanliness and safety of the classroom

Before and After School Duties

  • Drive or monitor a bus (sometimes two or three routes)
  • Monitor students getting off the bus insuring they get into the building safely, rain or shine
  • Breakfast Duty
  • Managing Car Rider Line & getting students in and out of traffic safely, rain or shine
  • Pick up walkers at the crosswalk in the morning and taking walkers to the crosswalk in the afternoon, rain or shine
  • Form teams of AIG students to put on a morning news broadcast. Teach students the role of anchor, sports, weather camera, special event and even writing scriptsSchool Activities

School Activities

  • Serve on School Improvement Team
  • Work with team to implement School’s Plan
  • Serve on school wide committees (Ex: social, grounds, book choices, evacuation planning committee)
  • Act as a Big Brother or Big Sister to students with behavior problems
  • Male TA’s are good role models for students where there is no father in the home
  • Conduct after school clubs (Ex: golf, cooking, scrapbooking and girls on the run)
  • Members of the school PTA, participate in school fund raising activities
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