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An elementary Title 1 aide is a paraeducator who assists teachers and administrators at the elementary school level. The federal government regulates some qualifications and duties of this position, while other job responsibilities will vary depending on the state and school district in which a Title 1 aide works. All Title 1 aides should give instructional support under the supervision of a licensed educator.
The No Child Left Behind Act mandates that all paraeducators meet certain educational requirements. An aide must complete two years of study at a college or university, obtain an associate degree or pass a paraprofessional exam. Most states use the ParaPro Assessment, which evaluates reading, writing and math skills.
A Title I aide should demonstrate strong skills in the core areas of education—reading, writing and math. The concepts covered will depend on the grade level. Many aides will work with students in different grades so they must be able to teach these subjects at every elementary grade level. Most students served by paraeducators, however, are below grade level in these subjects, so teaching will often focus on the more basic concepts.
Teaching aides are responsible for tutoring students individually or in small groups. Tutoring sessions are usually during times when the student is not receiving direct instruction from his classroom teacher. Teaching aides may remove students from the classroom to drill them on basic concepts they are behind on. Some school districts may also offer classes taught by aides before and after school to help struggling students. Paraeducators may also serve as an assistant to a teacher in her own classroom. The teacher may ask the aide to assist students with classwork, monitor students, or take students aside one at a time to go over a particular concept.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that as of May 2009 the median annual wage for teacher assistants was $22,820, with annual salaries ranging from $15,870 to $35,350. The salary and hourly wage for a teaching aide varies with the state and school district in which the aide works. Many teacher aides work only during the traditional nine-month school year.
Paraeducators play an essential role in successful education. Because of large class sizes and varying ability levels of students in the same classroom, it is crucial that struggling students receive personalized attention from qualified teaching assistants. Individual attention and instruction can make a tremendous difference for students who fall behind in their traditional classroom.