Teacher Aide Kaiāwhina Kaiako

Teacher aides assist teachers in a classroom by working with students on a one-to-one basis, or in groups. 

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Teacher aides may do some or all of the following:

  • work with students one to one, and in small groups, following a programme prepared by the teacher
  • help with extra activities such as physical exercise or physiotherapy
  • meet with teachers and parents to discuss students' progress
  • help teachers plan lessons for students with special educational needs
  • help students learn English as a second language
  • give medication to students who need it
  • assist students with personal care such as toileting or eating.

Physical Requirements

Teacher aides need to be reasonably fit as they may carry out physical tasks such as helping students with disabilities to move around.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for teacher aides includes:

  • childcare
  • nursing
  • teaching
  • parenting
  • working with people who have a disability.

Personal Qualities

Teacher aides need to be:

  • understanding and patient
  • able to follow instructions
  • able to work well under pressure
  • enthusiastic, open-minded and able to motivate children
  • skilled at communicating clearly with children and adults from a range of backgrounds and cultures
  • practical, organised and good at solving problems quickly
  • creative and adaptable
  • able to work well in a team.


Teacher aides need to have knowledge of:

  • how to work with students who have special needs
  • the school curriculum and subject areas in which they work
  • different teaching methods and learning styles
  • behavioural management techniques, such as ways to calm an angry child
  • child learning and development
  • school rules, policies and procedures, including safety and emergency procedures
  • first aid.


Teacher aides:

  • usually work part time, up to 30 hours a week during school hours, but may attend meetings outside these hours
  • work in school classrooms, libraries, computer suites and playgrounds
  • may work in stressful conditions with students who can get violent when angry or upset
  • may take students on visits to places in the community such as the library.

Subject Recommendations

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include English, health education, languages, maths and te reo Māori.

For Year 11 to 13 learners, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain relevant experience and skills.

Related Courses

Teacher Aides can earn around $23-$37 per hour.

Pay for teacher aides varies depending on experience and responsibilities. Teacher aides only work during school hours and school terms.

  • New teacher aides usually earn $23 an hour.
  • Teacher aides with experience and specialist skills can earn between $25 and $37 an hour.

Source: NZEI Te Riu Roa, E Tū and The Secretary for Education, 'Support Staff in Schools' Collective Agreement June 2022 - February 2024', 2022.

Teacher aides can specialise in a number of roles, including:

Education Support Worker
Education support workers work alongside a teacher or therapist with children in early childhood who have special needs.
Special Education Assistant
Special education assistants work alongside a teacher or therapist with children who have a physical disability.

With further training, teacher aides may progress to become early childhood teachers, primary or secondary school teachers, or Kaiwhakaako Māori.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a teacher aide. However, many employers prefer to hire teacher aides who have experience working with young people.

Teacher aides must undergo a police background check.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Teacher Aide