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Advice - SEN reg class(14 Posts)
Any advice would be gratefully received.
I've gone from a Year 11 tutor, to having a Year 8 SEN reg group. Just 13 in the class and all of them with needs - learning and emotional. They're a squabbling, brittle, often unkind to one another as a group, troubled and sensitive about their perceived status in the school.
I don't know where to start with them. Parroting 'Be kind, Be decent' doesn't seem enough for them but neither does the registration tasks on Empathy and other such matters either. They can be brutal with one another. My Year 11's were a mixed bunch but when they started to grow up, they all looked out for one another.
I've never had such a troubled little reg group! I don't know where to start!
I would avoid all pair and group work to start with as they probably aren’t ready for it. Just do activities that they can do alongside each other. Maybe give out rewards(house points or whatever system you have) for tiny acts of kindness. Say that you are looking out for anything they do that is positive even if it is just saying hello nicely to you in the morning. Good luck!!
They are in a SEN group for REGISTRATION?? No wonder the poor kids have a chip on their shoulders. Are they in that group all the time, or just for tutor?
Anyway- presumably you didn't make that call and just have to deal with the fall-out. Will you be keeping them through school or just having them for the year?
I'd suggest going to visit the best AP you can find to see how they bond a class. AP/ SEMH teachers get really good at that quickly, because if you don't it's a nightmare. Make a buddy in the AP so you have someone who gets it to ask questions and run ideas by.
101 is routine and structure. Get them into a rock solid routine for the time you have them, so they know exactly what is coming. That will drop the prevailing anxiety and make your life easier.
The new book that Michaela have put out (The Power of Culture) is really interesting in terms of how they inculcate respect and self-respect. Well worth a read (and I was a huge sceptic).
Yes, together all the time and they're painfully aware of it. Not my decision. In the brief time we've been together (phased return with staggered year groups), they're already on the counter attack (can't do it mentality, everyone knows we're thick), and a real defeatist attitude from most. I'm trying to quickly gather their strengths - one is very loyal and protective of younger siblings, another is dog-mad, one footballer, a diva etc. - but picking up their confidence is a challenge. A few make their names by being absolute nightmares on the yard at break etc. They're mine until Year 11 and they are incredibly troubled. By the end of day, I (and the Head of Year) had received numerous emails from staff about the disruption many caused in their lessons.
I could happily bollock my year 11's and they knew I still had their backs. This class I cannot treat the same. I know it's early days but I'm already wondering whether I'll do a good enough job by them.
I'm the parent of a child with SEN but I know there are several on here who teach in AP or SEMH; not completely sure of their names but I think Neurotrashwarrior is one?
My DS primary PRU is very good at a) noticing tiny good things like being polite and b) noticing when children turn it around - you didn't start well on that task but you finished it; you came in shouting but now I can see you are concentrating.
It is probably much harder with 12 year olds though as the Y3/4 class still wants to please!
You have to go individually at first. Get to know them. Humour always goes down well too. I would ditch the awful programme for a bit and put on something, even if it is funny panda or cat vids, that they can laugh at. Laughter is bonding. Small indirect acts of praise - the zip on your bag is stuck 'Johnny, your sensible and practical, can you see if you can fix this'.
Find out what they are really good at. Could be baking, cooking, car maintenance. Family - how is your little sister doing? Oh they can be annoying, my brother used to.... give a bit of yourself back.
Sometimes, these kids want to just vent. Give them that space. They are made to feel worthless and shit everyday so your room is ok to express that.
Use the time for them to do homework, catch up with class work and support by taking over the writing or reading. Get them individual by individual- it will take time. Remember, most of these kids are kicking off because they are hiding something, possibly how weak their reading is, the anxiety of writing or maths. Many may be time blind ( associated with ADHD) and wont be able to tell the time or have a feel for five mins as opposed to ten mins.
Pre warn of any changes.
You are mine. I've got your back. Struggling, tell me and I will speak to that teacher. Many may well have undiagnosed speech and language needs with deficits in receptive or expressive language. They are likely to have working memory and processing probs.
Talk to them about neurodiversity or talk to individuals. It's not you it's chemicals. Once they understand their SEN have role models with SEN then they can start identifying positively.
@Flyingarcher I am in awe of your post. Your advice has blown me away. I thank you.
Everything you say sits well with me - my personality, my thoughts on these pupils - your words have given me a definite plan of action.
I've already formed a bond with a pupil who loves dogs. Another boy has significant trauma (sibling SA that he's very aware of) and a terrible temper. He's been the 'entertainment' with his kicking off in the past and I'm trying to unpick the reputation.
Too many pupils to mention. I already really like them all.
@LittleEsme Then you and they will be fine. They will feel that you will like them and gradually that trust will build. So much is down to anxiety. Many will have undiagnosed separation disorder - this starts from baby hood - look up the blank face experiment- it's heartbreaking. Sometimes, all these kids need is a good listening to. There are some really good books called 'Let Me Tell You about...' for differeny conditions which are written in a kid friendly way. Knowing they are not the only ones really will help. The ones with really responsive parents - use that so email parents regarding good days or sessions, potential changes, an outside speaker in assembly.
Also girls mask difficulties. The girls' needs are just as heavy duty as the boys but they get subsumed by the lads.
Your one who loves dogs could make a collage and info on different breeds. He could research Btecs in animal care. Once he knows there is an end goal then he will be motivated.
There are lovely books called All Cats have Aspergers and All dogs have ADHD. Really cute.
How long do you have them for each day/ week?
Thanks again @Flyingarcher . I'll look into that. I've already contacted 4 parents with positive messages. They were delighted.
@cherrypiepie They are with me ever morning for half hour. It'd be more if it wasn't for C-19 as I'd be happy for them to sit with me at break and lunch as well. A lot of issues start in these times.
I’ve not had a tutor group like that, but being a maths teacher with strict setting means that I’ve taught plenty of bottom sets who have been basically that group of kids.
They come to school and fail. Every day. They can’t access the work, they can’t sit still, they can’t always behave ‘appropriately’. School, tbh, can be a really shitty place for them. And they might be not very good academically, but they aren’t stupid. They know they aren’t doing well by every measure of success a school has, and by the time I normally get them in Y10/11, they also know that ‘trying hard’ isn’t going to get them the results they might need. And yet they still turn up. It’s incredible.
You’ve got them in Y8. They’re still kids. They’re basically Y7s given how much school they’ve missed. They might have had a shitty lockdown. Their social skills have probably regressed. But like the vast majority of kids, they like succeeding at stuff, they like their teachers knowing them, and they like being praised.
Give them things to do that they can succeed at. Model kind behaviour. Catch them being good. Ask other teachers for positives so that you can talk to them about it. Get them to think about positives in their lives, their friends, their pets, their favourite foods and TV shows. Who are their heroes? Maybe have a tutor board display of some things that make each of them feel good to make the room somewhere positive for them, a good start to the day.
Make tutor time a place where they won’t be told off, they get that enough elsewhere. That doesn’t mean you can’t jolly them into sorting out uniform or have constructive conversations about behaviour, but that it’s coming from a supportive place.
Lots of lovely advice especially including flyingarcher and Nobel
I'm primary so I'm not sure it's of much help as we can still do class points and all manner of rewards. Which I don't fully agree with it we have to do want works at that age. For example, one bunch I had didn't get on at all. So we gave them pennies to collect as points, which they could "spend" on rewards for 10-15 mins at the end of the day. A 5 min "voucher" for the iPad etc. We had a push on noticing being kind etc.
That sort of thing might infantile them a bit though.
Definitely getting to know their interests. Bringing something in or showing them things on the screen that they can relate to.
Another idea is doing some go noodle together which can be quite fun and bonding but there's a few bits that are spiritual/ meditation etc. Again I don't know if that's too young for them though.
Mistake making - have a look at things around that. They'll all feel like they're constantly making mistakes. You can make that into something that's not seen as a failure but an area to grow. Eg
@NeurotrashWarrior thank you - I'll look into that.
@noblegiraffe this is incredibly helpful and meaningful. I appreciate this very much.
Hi I came to give advice but youve already had great tips from others. I have a v small SEN Y8 form, it’s a bit different because they’re all kids with statements and 1:1 staff so there’s usually lots of adults around and we have a much more relaxed atmosphere than I’m used to in form time. We’ve started different activities on specific days (if we have time) eg today we did some meditation (yoga with adriene has a lovely classroom meditation), fridays we have a quiz etc. Newsround always good. Most of the time is spent setting them up for the day, telling them what’s happening and sorting their books out etc as they have no clue. Some of them like to ‘read‘ and we have a tray with books magazines in usually with lots of pictures as most can’t read. (I realise your kids might not be into this but I like having it there as an option). We have various fiddle toys in a tray. Depending on their SEN it might be useful to do some techniques on communicating feelings. Boys in particular tend to have less vocabulary for emotions. Lots of the time we just chat but that might be hard if they don’t get on. Something I’ve seen others do that I think is nice is when doing the register, have a question you ask each child, for example what they did at the weekend. This would depend on general noise levels but I think they do appreciate if you show an interest even if they don’t show it. Like others said, praise praise praise. Sounds like you’re going to be an amazing form teacher to them, they’re lucky to have you.
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