Don’t think teaching special needs is for you? This might change your mind.
When I asked a teacher the other day why they didn’t want to consider special needs as a possible career path, they said:
I don’t know enough about it and don’t think I’d be comfortable teaching severely disabled kids.
Many teachers fear that they may end up in a class of students who have severe needs with no prior training or support & be expected to cope. This is not necessarily the case – in fact, teaching special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can represent a fantastic alternative career path to traditional primary or secondary classroom teaching.
SEND is for mainstream teachers, too
All children are entitled to an education, and those with profound and multiple learning difficulties can seem a little scary to teachers who have only ever stood in front of a class of mainstream primary or secondary pupils. These classes may therefore be more well-suited to those with greater knowledge of medical or special needs. However, a career in teaching special needs is not limited to working with theses sorts of children. In fact, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is a spectrum, and teachers with mainstream skills can put them to good use in a range of SEND settings.
What SEND settings are best for mainstream teachers?
Mainstream teachers should first consider what their strengths are. Perhaps you’re great at classroom management and don’t find difficult behaviour too challenging yourself? These teachers might consider a setting with more focus around behaviour or social, emotional and mental health issues. Pupil Referral Units and provisions within Young Offenders Institutions often cater for children like this, so you may find the transition to these environments easier than you expected. That’s not to say that all students in these settings will exhibit challenging behaviour – some may in fact be withdrawn and require gentle support and encouragement to battle their mental health issues and progress in their education.
Teachers who are good at supporting less able pupils may find that a moderate learning difficulties school would suit them well. These schools often have children who have special needs which include moderate autism/Asperger syndrome and learning delays, but very few individuals with profound or medical needs.
If you have experience working with individuals who require care assistance – perhaps disabled or elderly friends or relatives – then you may find that you can go straight into more profound special needs settings – it all really depends on what you’re comfortable with.
One thing is for sure – the SEND sector is under-staffed, so there is additional training and support available to those teachers who are keen to make this transition. At Axcis, we offer plenty of courses. There has never been a better time to get into SEND!
What benefits are there to teaching SEND?
This blog post goes into these points in more detail. In it, we outline 5 reasons to teach SEND – they are:
- You want more one-to-one time with your students
- You want to spend less time on assessment
- You want to broaden your skill set
- You want to be a more rounded education professional (and prepare for management)
- It’s rewarding (all teaching is rewarding but SEND can be particularly so)
Are you seeking teaching or support work?
If you are looking for school based work and are not already registered with Axcis, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area, so if you need work, why not register now? It’s free and takes just a few minutes – what do you have to lose?