What do you do in education support worker jobs?
An education support worker job is a bit of a shift from the norm that you might expect in support worker jobs. We look at the job and what you should expect if you follow a career down this path.
10th August 2012
An education support worker job is a bit of a shift from the norm that you might expect in support worker jobs. Technically, it’s the same – you are still supporting your service users in their daily routine. However, you’re out with them whilst they are studying! This changes the playing field a little. Needs stretch from physical to educational to emotional to behavioural.
What do you do in education support worker jobs?
In an education support worker role you are working to help students access education with the same level of opportunity that anyone would expect from an establishment. Your students may have some kind of physical or sensory impairment that conflicts with traditional teaching; alternatively, they may have a specific learning difficulty or behavioural issue that makes the typical classroom more challenging.
The kind of support that you provide in education support worker jobs changes accordingly. If your student has physical impairments, you will support them to get around between classes. You may also help them with personal care and toileting where appropriate.
If your student has a difference in sensory ability, you work to help with communication and translation. For instance, as a communication support worker, you might translate the teacher’s instructions into British Sign Language.
Students with specific learning difficulties occur within a real spectrum of categories in terms of severity and blend. Autistic spectrum disorders can range from students that need their very own specific support worker from a specialist organisation to being a high-functioning individual who is perfectly capable of socialising but has a tendency to write far too much information.
Learning impairments like dyslexia, dysalculia and dyspraxia require you to help with reading, comprehension, practical concerns and, sometimes, writing. These learning difficulties are all to do with the input and output of information. So, you might help your student to formulate sentences to answer questions, write down the working for a maths question or work with them to make sure they are safe in the kitchen. Alternatively, they may just have a global delay where everything requires a bit more simplicity, thought and repetition.
Finally, behavioural support issues require you to support students in acting appropriately in the classroom. You might work to prompt students to wait their turn, not talk over people, take time out to calm down or provide them with a ‘fiddle toy’ so they can keep themselves busy whilst thinking about their work.
What qualifications do I need for an education support worker vacancy and what sort of person do I need to be?
It is likely that, educationally, you yourself must be qualified to A Level standard at least. Whilst education support worker jobs don’t require you to actually teach any subjects, you do need to have a decent level of background understanding to help you decide how to aid.
Any educational qualifications will be desirable but not necessary. Similarly, qualifications and experience in working with people with learning difficulties will support your application.
As for personal qualities, there are a few necessary traits; patience, intelligence/experience, emotional intelligence, communication and proactiveness.
Patience is a big one. People learn things at different rates and may require you to explain several times in different ways. Furthermore, education is an emotionally-charged place. People hate not understanding and this, as well as problems outside of the classroom, really impair their listening skills and good behaviour.
You need basic experience and intelligence to help with learning. Partly so that you can understand the work itself and partly so you can judge how is best to communicate information. Emotional intelligence relates to this too – if you can’t read your student’s emotional state, you aren’t going to get much learning done. You need to know when to help them calm down, when to draw behaviour boundaries, when to praise and when they need to take 5 minutes and talk about what’s troubling them. In educational support worker jobs, you become part of a pastoral care team and this means you need to be responsive to people’s problems instead of just ploughing ahead and repeating information at them.
Proactiveness combines with the above traits to make you a great colleague. Whilst you need to remember that the teacher or lecturer is always in charge, they will be thrilled if you are proactive and take initiative in extending a student’s learning or make the extra effort to find useful resources for them.
Finding education support worker jobs
If you’re ready and raring to go for an education support worker job, there are a few ways you can find them. Schools and colleges may list them on their own websites, councils may aggregate their county’s schools’ needs on their website or alternatively, you can always use us! We aggregate jobs from many websites to get a great selection of possibilities.
Search now for education support workers jobs and try out the advanced search options to filter responses by location, career level or sector.