Education assistants collaborate with teachers to provide learning support to students. They also maintain daily class operations and lead small group sessions as required. They work directly with special needs students under the supervision of the lead teacher.
If you’re considering a career in education, this role might be a great place to start. Work BC estimates that there’ll be over 5000 job openings in this role within the next few years. The education sector is competitive and set to be one of the most lucrative career paths.
To qualify for this role, you’d need to build the skills, whether you take a course or gather adequate job experience. Here are ten essential skills of an educational assistant:
1. Communication skills
Communication is one of the most important skills of an educational assistant. Since they work directly with students, education assistants must know how to communicate effectively. The role requires documenting the student’s progress and analyzing their performance to the parents.
A teaching assistant must know how to translate their student’s activities into terms the parents can understand. You’d have to send emails and reports to management as well. Beyond writing, the role also involves communicating with children of distinct age groups.
2. Instruction and childhood development skills
An essential skill to have in this career path is child development. Build up from your training and educational workshops. This skill describes your ability to nurture children towards their highest potential.
It’s important to highlight your tutoring experience to back up this skill. There’s an added advantage if you work with special needs children, which you can learn at an education assistant course online.
3. Social awareness
As an educational assistant, it’s important to have a high-level understanding of people’s behavioral traits. Study how your students react and respond to objects and events. Younger children have limited communication skills while they’re growing.
Special needs students also struggle with conventional ways of communicating. You must learn to observe behaviors and look out for cues to help provide better support to the students.
4. Time management skills
Working with children means you’ll have your hands full most of the time. With targets to meet and lessons to plan, you must apply time management to stay on top of your tasks.
Multitasking is another essential skill since you’d have to do many things simultaneously. Convince the recruiters that you can manage your tasks while monitoring the children. Listing these two skills shows you can carry out your duties effectively without distractions.
5. Lesson planning skills
Lesson planning is another powerful skill to have. This skill describes your ability to effectively create a plan that will improve a child’s learning abilities. An average lesson plan comprises various subjects and activities organized into time pockets.
The plan also accounts for playtime, naps, and even snack breaks. Draw up a strategy that shows how you aim to implement the lesson plan and the goals you seek to achieve.
6. First aid and CPR certification skills
As an educational assistant, you might have to work with children with health conditions like allergies. Some accidents that require first aid attention could happen. So, a First Aid certification provides an added advantage to your strengths.
This certification points at your efficiency as a childcare giver and competency with attending to children with injuries and first aid needs.
7. Active learning skills
Competent educational assistants use active learning in their teaching efforts. Many schools also apply active learning for standard classrooms and special needs settings. Combine active learning with instruction to track your students’ various learning processes.
Listing this skill shows that you’re effective at classroom management. It also demonstrates versatility, creativity, and problem-solving ability.
8. Interpersonal skills
Another valuable trait to have is the ability to relate with others. An educational assistant must know how to work with unique personalities, even in complex settings. You must be professional, polite, and honest at all times.
Strong interpersonal skills mean you promote positive interactions and maintain healthy relationships with your colleagues, students, and their parents.
Educational assistants function as part of the entire teaching team. They report to teachers and other managing authorities depending on the job description. As an education assistant, you must support teachers in the classroom and provide necessary information when required.
Listing this skill shows that you’re not rigid and have no issues with cooperating with others. Teamwork also means you’re willing to collaborate with other staff to improve the student’s learning experience.
10. Basic digital skills
In this climate, it’s essential to have digital skills when working in an educational setting. Schools have gone digital to adapt to the pandemic. Today, learning materials are all online. Consider taking a few digital courses and staying on top of learning apps and trends.
Tools like MS-Word, Zoom, Canva, and many others already play a huge role in teaching trends these days. Seek organizational apps to help you navigate paperwork and admin. Listing this skill means you’re forward-thinking enough to help children navigate our fast-paced digital world.