An instructional assistant supports a teacher at an elementary school, high school, or college, delivering supplemental lectures, organizing group discussions, and providing additional assistance as needed. The job description of an instructional assistant requires a detailed knowledge of course material, the patience to work with struggling students, and strong organizational skills.
An instructional assistant assists in designing lesson plans and assignments, leads small group discussions and study groups, delivers occasional lectures, grades papers and tests, and assists in setting up and organizing classrooms.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of an Instructional Assistant
- Assists instructor in preparing daily lesson plans.
- Designs activities and projects.
- Sets up classroom for activities, lectures, and discussions.
- Prepares lecture notes for instructor.
- Explains instructions and assignment guidelines to students.
- Prepares material, discussion topics, and questions for small group discussion.
- Creates study guides for students.
- Assists instructor in grading essays and exams.
- Maintains records of student attendance, participation, and grades.
- Acts as an instructor’s research assistant when required.
- Places textbook orders.
- Addresses and answers student inquiries about course logistics or material.
- Supervises students in the classroom.
- Administers discipline when necessary.
- Resolves disputes among students.
- Works one-on-one with students who require extra assistance.
- Meets regularly with instructor to discuss student progress and course organization.
- Reports serious issues or problems to lead instructor or parents if necessary.
- Attends parent-teacher conferences when employed at an elementary school or high school.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates detailed knowledge in the area of instruction.
- Speaks confidently in front of a group.
- Communicates clearly and effectively.
- Possesses strong writing and editing skills.
- Demonstrates patience and compassion.
- Exhibits intellectual curiosity.
- Maintains positive and encouraging demeanor.
- Demonstrates strong organizational skills.
- Is capable of conducting independent research.
- Pays close attention to detail.
- Demonstrates strong interpersonal skills.
- Is capable of maintaining a flexible schedule to meet with students when necessary.
- Manages time efficiently.
- Demonstrates knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite.
- Demonstrates ability to think creatively and innovatively.
- Works well with a variety of individuals.
- Demonstrates knowledge of school standards and code of conduct.
Education and Experience
An instructional assistant holds a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree in Education or a field related to their specific field of instruction. Many instructional assistants are students themselves, and are working toward Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees, or PhDs in a specific field of study.
An instructional assistant spends the majority of his or her working hours in a classroom setting, assisting the instructor or leading discussion. Time is also spent in an office setting, grading papers and preparing lessons. An instructional assistant’s hours vary according to class schedules; some assistants may work a standard 9-5 day, while others will lead discussions inthe evening and/or on weekends.
The average salary for a full-time instructional assistant is approximately $25,000 per year. Many instructional assistants are student teachers or graduate students who provide part time support and these assistants make between $13,000 and $15,000 per year. The highest paid and most established instructional assistants make close to $40,000 per year.