The job of an SEN teaching assistant is vital, yet often undervalued. As an SEN teaching assistant, you play a key role in ensuring that children with special educational needs (SEN) receive the support they need to thrive in the classroom.
You need to be patient, and empathetic and have a good understanding of SEN. You also need to be able to work well under pressure and be able to think on your feet. If you think you have what it takes to be a great SEN teaching assistant, then read on!
What are the key qualities of a great SEN teaching assistant?
The key qualities that a great SEN teaching assistant should possess are patience, empathy, advanced communication skills and a clear understanding of the SEN-related needs of the students they are working with. Patience is important to manage challenging behavior appropriately, while also rewarding positive behavior which can help to encourage the student. Empathy is key to understanding the emotional and physical needs of the students, to be able to support and motivate them. Communication skills are not just about being able to listen and explain effectively, but also about being able to relate to people of different ages and understanding the best way to engage with them.
The importance of building relationships
It is of the utmost importance that a great SEN teaching assistant takes the time to build relationships with both the students and their families. This will help to create an atmosphere of trust, enabling the students to feel safe and secure in their learning environment. Building strong relationships can also provide a better understanding of the individual needs of each student, allowing the teaching assistant to adapt their approach to ensure the best possible outcomes. It is also important to build relationships with colleagues and other professionals, to have a support network and to ensure that the highest standards of teaching are being employed.
How to be an advocate for your students
SEN teaching assistants must be advocates for the students they work with, to ensure that their needs are being met and that they receive the best possible teaching. Understandably, parents and carers of children with special needs may feel overwhelmed, so SEN teaching assistants need to be there as a point of contact to answer any questions or provide reassurance. It is also important to be an advocate for the student in the classroom, so that any potential conflict or misunderstanding can be avoided, enabling the student to learn in an environment where they feel comfortable and secure.
Tips for SEN teaching assistants
There are several tips and strategies that SEN teaching assistants can employ to be great at their job. First and foremost, it is important to remember that not all SEN students are the same and that each will have differing needs and abilities. It is also important to observe and take note of the student’s behavior, as this can provide helpful insights into their progress. It is also important to be patient and persistent in your approach, as it can take time to see results. Finally, it is essential to understand the student’s school environment, as this provides a baseline for the student’s progress and ensures that the SEN teaching assistant is not operating in a vacuum.
The role of an SEN teaching assistant can be hugely rewarding, as it provides an opportunity to make a real difference in a child’s life. However, it is also important to remember that it is a challenging and demanding role, requiring a great deal of patience, empathy and dedication. By having the right skills and understanding the importance of building relationships, being an advocate for the student, and employing beneficial strategies and tips, an SEN teaching assistant can be a great asset to the school, providing the best possible support for their students. For more information visit us.