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A lot of QTs are unaware that there is no additional training required to take up a teaching role at most Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools, with the primary daunting factor being the extra workload involved when working with children who require more attention.
But what is it really like to work as a teacher in an SEN school?
Of course, working with children with special needs, you will have to be a particular kind of person yourself – attentive, caring, passionate about your pupils’ development, and highly intuitive. You could argue that these are the qualities that you would need for any teaching role, but a role within an SEN school requires a greater focus on these attributes.
Certain aspects of teaching are seriously amplified when working within an SEN school. The patience, creativity, and enthusiasm required to work in a state school teaching role will need to be even more prevalent in order to be successful in an SEN teaching role.
Predominantly, pupils of an SEN school require alternative methods of teaching in order to grow educationally and socially. For this, you will have to possess well-honed listening and communication skills, and you will need to be instinctual to the individual requirements of each pupil.
You must also be required to pursue specialist training courses in order to interact with certain pupils in a more appropriate manner, i.e utilising laptops with dyslexic pupils, using sign language with hearing impaired students, and understanding braille to help with visually impaired children.
Typically, in an SEN school you would teach smaller classes of pupils. This gives you an excellent opportunity to get to know each young person a lot more than you would in a state-run school. You will also have access to social-care professionals for informative consultations and advice for situations where you feel out of your depth.
SEN teachers play vital, potentially life changing roles in the educational system, and help to make sure that no child is denied an education despite their special needs.