If you are a teacher then you will probably come in to contact with children with a range of learning difficulties. A very common learning difficult is dyslexia and can often go unnoticed for a number of years. Children who have dyslexia often confuse the use of small words such as does and goes and may find it hard to read single words in isolation. They often lack confidence and feel that they struggle to keep up with other members of the class. As a teacher, it is important that you give that child some of their confidence back and be mindful of their condition. You need to plan work that will help them whilst not putting too much pressure on them.
You need to give them praise for competing tasks to boost their self-esteem and if they do not wish to read out loud then this should be respected as often they may feel embarrassed which can aggravate a situation.
A person with dyslexia may be verbally very bright but struggle to put their words down on to paper. You may need to allow them a little more time to complete such tasks.
For a lot of children when they start school is when their education starts and they begin without being able to read or write and will little understanding of counting and math. However, the children who have already started their education from an early age at home are given a much greater advantage in class and tend to advance much quicker than those with little to no past education experience.
So where do you start?
Studies show that you really can begin early with children as young as 6 months old. Simple exercises such as number recognition with blocks is a great place to start. Lay 3 blocks in a row, then stack 3 on top of each other, then place them on the floor in a pattern and show your child each time saying “there are 3 blocks” this teaches them what “3” looks like in physical terms, you can then try with different amounts of blocks.
Showing them written numbers from 1-10 will also help their understanding.
To help start their communication skills early it can be useful to attend baby signing classes, this teaches your baby a very basic form of a sign that they can use to communicate with you before their speech has developed. Generally, babies that learn to sign tend to speak much sooner and have a larger vocabulary.
So start early and make it a game that way learning new skills will be fun for both you and your child.
The job of a teaching assistant can vary depending on the school and the teacher you are working with. Each school, although having to adhere to strict guidelines, can still to an extent change some of the ways in which the school is run. If you have previously been a teaching assistant in a school and then move to another you may have to learn to work in a different way.
It is important early on to establish what your job role entails exactly so you do not overstep the mark with the teacher and also so you do not miss any important tasks that you should be doing.
You may be given task such as creating displays, organising worksheets, collecting and giving out books, hearing children read and possibly taking a small group of children to work with during lesson time. If there is a pupil who has learning difficulties then you may be responsible for working with them the majority of the time.
Some teaching assistants that have teaching experience may be asked to cover the class for a short period if the teacher is away on a course or off ill for example.
Safeguarding children is something that all teachers should be trained on and it’s important to keep up to date with the latest methods and advice to ensure that you are compliant with current legislation. This can be tricky however when you are in an unfamiliar school as a supply teacher.
Now some people may think that this is not an important aspect of supply work however it is essential that no matter how long or short you are responsible for that class you do your utmost to ensure that the safeguarding standards of the school are upheld.
The first thing to do is to familiarise yourself with the schools safeguarding standards and procedures so that you are equipped with the information should you need to use it. This is just as important as reading over the fire drill procedures and the first aid information so should not be overlooked.
As a new unknown adult in a position of responsibility, you may also actually be in a position where a child is more likely to approach you with an issue relating to safeguarding as there are less embarrassment and fear of judgment from someone who is completely unknown to them and they may not see again.
Teaching is a hugely stressful job and there are many aspects of teaching that people find difficult and can cause unnecessary pressure and stress. As a teacher there will be times when you may feel that you need a bit of help and advice. It may need that you need advice on how to deal with the behaviour or a certain individual or class of students or possibly how to teach a particular subject in an informative but fun way. There are a number of places that you can go to help seek out the answers to your queries and many teachers often start by asking the advice of fellow colleagues or the head teacher. You may even find that a colleague has been through a similar situation to you and can help you by suggesting things that you could try that seemed to work well for them. If it is a certain topic or element of the curriculum that you are worried about, why not see if anyone has copies of lesson plans that you can look through to help you plan your lesson.
Often there is a huge amount of information, worksheets and lesson plan ideas online, your school may have access to sites such as Twinkl which can give you a great place to start.