- Are you a qualified teacher with experience of working in a mainstream school?
- Are you an NQT looking to complete your induction?
- Do you want to a make a difference to a child’s life?
- Have you ever considered teaching SEN and what they do?
Here are some common misconceptions about teaching within SEN settings:
1. You need specific SEN knowledge to become an SEN supply teacher
This is not necessarily true. 4myschools find from speaking with our schools’ experience teaching within the classroom is desirable as most classrooms will provide you with experience of working with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and those on EHCPs (Education, Health Care Plan). You will have naturally differentiated your work and liaised with their LSAs to gain feedback and ensure that the work meets their individual developmental needs. In a SEN school the difference is that all your children will have an EHCP and your planning and teaching will be tailored to the individual needs of the pupils.
2. I’m an NQT and can only complete my induction year in a mainstream school –
will I be able to complete my induction as a supply teacher in a SEND school?
You can complete your NQT year in a special school. We can help you with specific SEN knowledge and prepare you for working in various SEN settings. We will support NQT’s through the interview process. What a nice introduction to your first year of teaching, working with a small class of children in a supportive school setting.
3. SEN behaviour management will be too challenging
Yes, some children with SEN do present with challenging behaviours. However no more than other children, and they are usually for the very same reasons, such as anxiety, frustration, and fear. As a SEND teacher you will need to have a range of behaviour management techniques and strategies in your toolkit. As a teacher you already know; there is no such thing as one size fits all, and the reason that we recommend this is because of the individual approach that you will take with students in your class. Also, you won’t be alone; you will have specialist LSA’s in your class trained and dedicated to supporting the pupil’s behaviours and needs. What you are likely to find is that the SEN schools behaviour management policy is well practised and regularly reviewed to ensure that the safety of both students and staff is paramount.
4. SEN learning will be limited.
Now this is so far from the truth. SEN pupils do follow the curriculum and SEND schools are there to provide an education and not to “baby sit” their pupils. SEND children and young people cover a wide variety of subjects including care subjects, gifted and talented, life and functional skills. Working as a SEND teacher allows you to not only teach and guide your students but also to take part in the therapeutic and enrichment lessons. These can include Horse riding, cooking, Music, Art and Drama Therapy. The pupils do have hurdles that others don’t, but they also don’t have the same inhibitions and are eager to try something new and that can be so rewarding. Never mind the surge of pride and wonderment that you will get when they, perhaps against the odds, share their personal ‘wins’ with you. No matter how small; that win, will remind you why you love teaching.
Many teachers are daunted by the idea of working with SEND in a specialist supply teacher setting because they do not realise that they have all the attributes and knowledge needed for working with children who have an EHCP.
As recruitment consultants who both ‘fell’ into working with additional needs rather than directly pursued it we wanted to reassure you that, yes there will be a lot of learning on the job, but you as qualified teachers have the foundation (and more) of what you need to work in these amazing supply teacher environments! After all, don’t we thrive on learning new things?
So why not give supply SEND teaching a try. It could be the best career move you make.
Helen Darling and Bryony Lopez