Education support professionals provide a vital link to the total student learning experience. They serve in a variety of roles, from instructional assistants to custodians and bus drivers to secretaries and cafeteria workers.
They are also essential for maintaining a safe and welcoming school environment, allowing students to learn at their own pace. With their help, students can achieve their full academic potential.
The job duties of an education support worker involve assisting teaching staff to provide education in a classroom environment. These may be tasks such as collating and displaying student work, managing activities or maintaining an organised space.
The role often involves interaction with students who have emotional or behavioural difficulties that make them difficult for teachers to teach in a normal classroom situation. These students benefit from an education support worker who can understand and validate their struggles while providing a positive and supportive environment.
You can also provide personalised learning support by helping to tutor small groups or individuals on subjects such as reading, maths and interpreting instructions. Depending on the type of disability you work with, you might support children to get around between classes or assist them with their personal care and toileting needs.
You can expect an education support worker to work in many different settings from the humble classroom to a busy college or university. In this role you could be responsible for helping students with their physical or behavioural needs, translate their teachers’ instructions into British Sign Language (BSL) or assist them in navigating the lecture hall.
Despite their varied duties, most education support workers have the same basic qualifications. A bachelor’s degree in a science or technology related field is a must for the job. However, you may be able to get away with a certificate or diploma in this industry, particularly if you have relevant experience. Besides a solid educational background, you’ll also need to be a people person and have the ability to think on your feet. It’s no surprise that education support workers are one of the fastest growing occupations in the UK. To make the cut, you’ll need to be a hardworking, self-motivated individual with an attention to detail.
Education support workers attend lessons with students who require additional assistance to make it through. They might need a hand to translate their instructions in British Sign Language, or scribe their notes in a pinch. They also need to be alert and observant for students who are on the verge of a meltdown.
The training requirements for an education support worker vary by employer, but the typical job description includes a degree of supervision from the school principal or dean of students. They typically work full time during the school day with several weeks off during holidays.
The best education support workers are well-rounded and able to multitask in a variety of ways. For example, they can assist with classroom organization and resolving disputes among fellow teachers and students. The most important ingredient is an aptitude for working with children and adolescents in a sensitive, yet caring manner. The most successful of these professionals enjoy a high level of personal satisfaction in helping students to succeed both academically and personally.
Education support workers guide students and teachers to develop effective learning plans. They work in a variety of schools, colleges and universities.
This role involves working to support students with special needs such as learning difficulties, physical or sensory impairments or autistic spectrum disorders. It may include providing personal care or toileting assistance, helping with communication and translating instructions, as well as assisting with access to the education system.
The work environment for an education support worker is largely determined by the school. The research identified the factors that constitute a conducive and toxic work environment and also outlined how they vary by gender, teaching level and years of experience.