New teacher- advice, guidance please!(8 Posts)
Hi all, as background, I've spent the last 15 years working in the city and got to a pretty high level. A year or so ago I decided I wanted to do something that 'made a difference' and in September I am going to teach English at secondary school. I deliberately chose a school in an area of 'deprivation' and in addition 25% of pupils have SEN.
I know there are a huge number of different SEN and even within a 'category' there are huge variations but I would really appreciate any advice you can give. Basically, I have had some training on working with children with SEN and have some understanding on how to plan my lessons to make them inclusive and I'm mostly comfortable with this.
What I don't know is how parents with children with SEN feel about the education provided. If I were your child's teacher, what would you want me to know and do? What would you expect me to know before the first class? Are there any activities, services you feel the school should provide? If your school operates a system to prepare pupils for further education or employment are there any variations you would like to see?
I want to be as effective and supportive as I can in the classroom and possibly use my business experience to propose and implement new ways to support all children.
Also if you are totally happy with your school, that would be useful to know and what they do.
Sorry I know it's a long post and if you're still reading, thanks a million!
Please remember that behaviour can be a form of communication. If the behaviour is poor, then what are they trying to tell you but can't by using words - they probably dont either know what words to use, find it hard to trust you or dont have the emotional maturity to know themselves.
Read their EHCP if they have one, a lot of time and effort goes into that document by parents, students and other professionals, make good use of it.
Treat them as an individual. Ask them if you can talk to parents, dont go behind their back etc. Keep parents informed. If a parent doesn't know what has happened then they can't do anything to support. If you have 'tricky' parents then gather evidence first.
You sound like you will be a great teacher because you care enough to ask this question.
I would say please listen to parents a about their child and what they need and please don't fall into the trap of assuming their child's behaviour is due to them. Please communicate with parents and if problems come up at school please ask if they've experienced the same at home - they may have experience with solutions that work well.
Generally, if you see each child as a valuable individual and not just a label as I'm sure you will then that will come across.
Please remember that some people are on a journey of acceptance re SEN. Be supportive - it can be very stressful going through a SEN diagnosis
Communication is the key for me. I try to keep a dialogue going with the teacher and the Senco. Mostly light touch but they email me with q's or news.
Nobody knows my dd like I do. Ask me. I want her to function in school. I want to help and make all our lives easier
I second what Mayhem said about behaviour. Many of the kids you teach will be angry/anxious, maybe due to their additional needs and the difficulties it creates for them academically or socially, maybe due to a grim life outside school or just to the rollercoaster of hormones and social turmoil of adolescence. It can be difficult not to take it personally and feel threatened, especially as a new staff member. Staff room talk in some schools can get beyond just letting off steam and create a 'them and us' culture that demonises individual kids and sometimes whole year groups. I try in my job to treat others' children how I'd hope my own would be treated and that helps keep me on track.
Forgot to say Good Luck! Great that you're doing this and I hope it works out well for you
As an experienced teacher I think all the advice given above is excellent. Finding out the students' interests/background in advance can really help out in a challenging situation and make them feel like you are genuinely interested in them. One of my most challenging students last year who had a lot going on at home changed a lot after we had a long conversation about her life and went on to get an A in lit.
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