Any special school teachers loosing the will?(17 Posts)
I know teaching is bloody tough. Like most SEN teachers I have done lots of different jobs - primary, secondary, leadership team etc and now I am classteacher special school. There is a great Joy in working with my children but it is starting to feel like an impossible task. We have the same sort of data progress tracker stresses as mainstream but it feels a bit like the emperor's clothes. "Freddie (not real name obv) needs to make 60% in writing this year" well Freddie has SLD, cerable palsy, he has made awesome progress at not spitting at others, he can move around the space in his electric chair and is gaining some real independence, he will tolerate being toileted without screaming now and he can still just about write his name, he knows which letters make it up and can put them in the right order about 60% of the time. He only has one functional arm and I want to shout "no, no data king spreadsheet man he will not make a levels progress this year in writing. He will do a million other things, work hard and enjoy himself. My team and I will work ridiculous hard to teach, inspire and nuture this young man but I know that will not ping your spreadsheet so you just don't care."
Does this happen in other special schools? I had a v sad conversation with a new member of staff this week who said she had worked out the major difference between mainstream and special school - "at special school its not the kids telling you you are shit, it is the management"
Teachers have my absolute respect. I've got two dd's with autism and one in mainstream yr 2 and other starts next week. They both have a lot of issues. I bloody hard that education is all about targets. Yes I want them to be able to read, write and do maths but I also want them to love School. Not freak out because they've not hit their targets. The government needs to be shot with what they've done to teachers and education and they wonder why teachers are leaving. I imagine in a Sen School it's even more bloody difficult.
Can I ask what happens if kids don't hit their targets? As a parent to a child with Sen I truly don't care about standard targets. I think they're completely individual to each child especially when additional needs come into it.
Have a lovely half term if it's your half term week.
It's just ridiculous, although not particularly new. We got pulled up by OFSTED in 1994 for not spending enough minutes in the week on Geography / history / etc..... they couldn't grasp the concept that moving a class of dc from the playground to the classroom in a calm and co-operative manor was a challenge in itself, and, if, on occasion that took 10 minutes, then so be it. Many of the dc in the school I was working in then, were there because their behaviour was extremely challenging. Time spent teaching them to manage their emotions was not only extremely important to them, but was likely (if we could succeed) to save "society" from an awful lot of aggression as they grew older, bigger, stronger and then into adults. The inspectors just couldn't grasp the reason the dc were at our school, but just wanted to measure everything against their neat list of targets. They freaked out when I changed what had originally been planned on Thursday afternoon when we'd had wet play and dinner, and the dc were fed up and unsettled by being watched all week..... you know - used my professional knowledge, judgement and experience to do what was best for the dc in my charge.
I know the feeling well, I teach a small sld class within a mainstream school, have done for years. I have a meeting every half term to discuss their progress, it goes like this:
HT: looking at the data Bob isn't on track to make his two sub levels of progress, why is that?
Me: he has severe learning difficulties.
Fast forward six weeks, another meeting
HT: Bob is still not on target to make two sub levels of progress, can you explain.
Me: he STILL has severe learning difficulties.
Repeated every six weeks for the last 8 years...... Sigh!!
Msqueen not a lot really like ziggity says the conversation just gets repeated but you are made to feel like a failing teacher.
Can I just say as a parent of a child at SS if our children are happy and making progress in whatever way is appropriate to their needs then you're all heroes in my eyes.
Oh and by progress I do mean things like the spitting etc, not academic.
100% agree with what bishop said. I haven't got any children with sen, but if your children feel comfortable and happy in the environment you've created then your doing a wonderful job.
Ignore anyone who says differently!
Absolutely. This was one of the many reasons I left a long career as a SEN teacher early this year. I'll never go back.
I work with children with hearing impairments - some of whom have significant additional needs ( global learning delay, autism, processing disorders, cerebral palsy etc.) Two such pupils have made astounding progress with their speech and language skills in the last six months and we have the SALTassesments to show that progress.
When we had OFSTED last year we were fortunate enough to get an inspector who had been a special school head and she was much more interested in the qualitative data we showed her( ie not just academic progress.) Shame they're not all like that...
I have a friend who has recently given up her job as a special school teacher for exactly the reasons you stated op. She was drowning in unnecessary paperwork. Each of her reports at the end of the year was 20 pages long and this was on top of of one plans, EHCP reviews and IEPs.
I am all for having high expectations for all pupils but they need to be realistic.
I want to cry for you. I will never understand why education has gone the way it has. When I started teaching back in the day, yes, there was paperwork, yes, there was Ofsted but by and large I was allowed to teach. Please know you are right and please know you are valued by the kids and parents, if not bloody senior management.
i even said about my DS who attends MS I'd rather he left with the social skills to attend higher ed and get a job than 10 high level GCSE he has no idea what to do with. (He has autism)
Do you use b squared? It's much better for recording all those little steps.
I teach in a special school and in order to get over this problem we not only rewrote every subjects curriculum but we also wrote one which covers life skills, sensory acceptance and communication. This took a vast amount of time to do but we can now show the small (but equally of not more important) steps that our children make.
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