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teaching primary and SEN - what's it really like?

(11 Posts)
Laibey Thu 13-Jun-13 21:31:42

hi everyone
I'm looking for some advice! I really like the idea of working with kids, especially on an individual basis and I'm thinking about SEN teaching in a primary school. The thing is, this would be a career change for me. I'm 33 and have no experience whatsoever of children! I know your instant reaction is - well why do I think I want to work with them? I don't know, it's just instinct. I've thought so hard and logic tells me I'm not suitable and that it would be a long shot given that there are probably billions of much more experienced, younger people who will become teachers and competition for jobs is fierce.... anyway, could anyone suggest how on earth I might be able to get some experience with kids? I work full time and have a long commute so anything in the week is impossible. I can't seem to find much going on at weekends that isn't extremely energetic (even I know there's a difference between getting experience in a class or educational setting, and helping out at exhausting noisy sports activities or something...!) The only thing I can think of is Sunday school...?!? I have to support myself so can't go part time.

Is anyone here a primary teacher? What's it like? Would I stand half a chance applying for a job as a TA, and then PGCE, or even if I got some experience am I too old to change career? Is there anything similar to SEN teaching (i.e. working with kids one to one) that I could consider as an alternative? I'm naturally a bit 'intellectual' and introverted and not very energetic , and wouldn't be much good at controlling a class of 35 little ones!

Many thanks!

Eyesunderarock Thu 13-Jun-13 21:36:31

You could see if any of the specialist group that are set up to support families that have children with SN need volunteers.
In my area we have play groups and activity groups, riding and swimming groups that are aimed at children with a range of sn.
Beavers, brownies, scouts and guides always need extra helpers and would give you experience of working with children at evenings and weekends, and they are inclusive.

QueenofLouisiana Fri 14-Jun-13 18:24:31

You definitely aren't too old to change career! You could apply for TA jobs, they are hotly contested but that should not deter you. Make sure that you have the relevant qualifications (GCSE in maths, English and science) and think how your degree would be useful in the primary classroom- especially if it isn't directly a national curriculum subject (mine isn't, but can be linked).
IME most SEN teachers have spent time teaching in the classroom, before doing 1:1, but I might be wrong! Good luck, with your idea. If you want to do it, the profession always needs people keen to join it!

Inclusionist Fri 14-Jun-13 18:44:58

There are very, very few SEN jobs in mainstream primary schools. Schools just can't afford them.

It is not yet possible to train as an SEN teacher. You would have to do a mainstream PGCE or Schools Direct.

It might be your best bet to look into getting a dyslexia qualification and setting up as a tutor. Or, rather than teaching what about training to be a SALT or an OT?

mrspaddy Fri 14-Jun-13 18:51:53

I teach in a Special School. There is high competition at the moment but the only way you will know if it is for you is perhaps to use some and go into schools.

I am not fully aware of the situation in the general primary school setting but I did a PGCE, Masters in Education then a Post Grad in SEN. The University of Birmingham Course is highly regarded and available via distance learning but you would need your PGCE first.

I know that in my school, people who have got first preference are those that have worked in Special Olympics, Summer Camps etc. Best of luck to you.

mrspaddy Fri 14-Jun-13 18:52:18


Laibey Fri 14-Jun-13 20:08:06

Thanks everybody for your input. Thinking about it, I wonder if it's really SEN teaching that I'm after.... basically I just think I want to work one to one with children - or even adults - probably in education (as opposed nursing, for example) I really don't think the big class thing is for me and I wonder if I'm barking up the wrong tree with the primary school idea. I don't know what other careers there even are that involve this kind of work. thanks for your help.

Inclusionist Sat 15-Jun-13 10:32:20

Look into being a Speech Therapist. It is 1:1 or very small groups. Very interesting work.

I think there is NHS funding for the training although I could be wrong about that.

Inclusionist Sat 15-Jun-13 10:38:51

Here is the NHS SALT careers section.

BTW many SALTs work exclusively in schools not in NHS clinics, if it's particularly the working in a school enviornment that you are interested in. I even employ my own one in a Resource Base! grin

BrigitBigKnickers Sun 16-Jun-13 11:25:52

If you have no experience wi children then I cannot imagine that a school would even consider you for an interview for a TA post as these are highly sought after jobs where there are usually a high number of applications.

Best advice I could give is for you to volunteer in a school first to gain some experience and go from there. If you are considering a PGCE I assume you have a degree level qualification.

Ooh inclusionist! I also run a resources base ( HI) what speciality are you in?

Inclusionist Sun 16-Jun-13 18:16:44

I've got 3 20 place bases (ASD, PMSD and SEBD)!! Must be one of the biggest Resource Bases around I think.

My personal speciality is SEBD though.

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