Landing a teaching job as a newly-qualified teacher (NQT) is a fantastic achievement. Whether you’ve secured a permanent teaching position or if you are working as a supply teacher, no doubt the hard work you will have done throughout your studies, work experience and placements will have paid dividends when you land that first big-time job. The same can be said for working as a SEND teacher, or teaching assistant (TA).
As an NQT, you should be incredibly proud of your accomplishment, but SEND teaching positions may be entirely different than you’d expect. Teacher training doesn’t always necessarily prepare teachers for teaching children with special educational needs and disability.
No matter how you achieved Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), it’s important to remember this is the beginning of your journey rather than the end. Think of the QTS qualification like a driving test; you pass it and you’re essentially allowed to teach anywhere, but you will only achieve the full experience once you’ve started working in schools. This can be anywhere from working as a teaching assistant to landing private school jobs.
SEND teaching assistants in particular, have a vital part to play in teaching special needs children. This kind of teaching job gives you varied responsibilities, in how you effectively manage children of varying needs. You’ll be expected to use your proactive teaching skills to manage the whole classroom and help pupils get the most out of their education.
Improve your SEND Teaching Skills
It’s wise to treat a SEND teaching jobs as an opportunity to learn while you teach. Here are a few things that you could do to develop your SEND teaching skills.
Improve your SEND Teaching Skills
It’s wise to treat a SEND teaching job as an opportunity to learn while you teach. Here are a few things that you could do to develop your SEND teaching skills.
- Understand children’s rights – understanding the Equality Act (in particular the Equality & Human Rights Commission guidance) can give you some perspective of the duties that a school is required to fulfil. Understanding these will help you become more informed about the expectations (and challenges) of working in SEND.
- Reflect on your environment – an inclusive classroom culture is essential for all learners to feel welcome. Make adjustments to the classroom if you deem it necessary, and consider how the children are affected by the space they use and how it can be improved. You can use online groups like the SLD Forum for added support in your SEND TA role.
- Speak to parents and other professionals – developing honest, constructive relationships with families can be a tremendous asset to how you do the same with children too. Parents can share experience and insight from their daily lives with their children, which can in turn help with strategies when teaching SEND students. Making the use of knowledge and strategies from other teachers and professionals’ (e.g. language and speech therapists) can also be a great tool with SEND teaching.
- Explore challenging behaviour – complex behaviour can be a challenge in the classroom, and sometimes unpredictable. It’s the collective responsibility of the school to ensure this is appropriately managed and pupils are looked after, no matter their complex behaviour. Advice, support and guidance of experienced teachers will help you greatly with this, as can behaviour management resources and material.
- Get to know your students – large and busy classrooms can create a less-personal environment for children. This is a huge challenge for both students and teachers, no matter their role in the classroom. This is why becoming a teaching assistant can create a more personal environment for each student, which is especially valuable for SEND children in terms of helping their academic achievements as well as their personal development.
SEND Teaching During COVID-19
Now that schools have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students with SEND, who receive additional support, are going to need some more considerations.
One of these issues concern TAs working in SEND schools, who are unable to provide that bespoke, incident-specific support that some children require. This could be anything from speech therapy or sensory assistance, and replicating this help would be challenging for both TAs and pupils.
Not to mention the fact that changing routines for some children would be particularly upsetting, and both permanent teaching assistants and teachers will need to make amendments in some pupils’ timetables. For schools, they should remain transparent with parents and TAs to see how they can feasibly work around these issues.
Apply for SEND Jobs
Here at Always Flourishing, we recruit permanent and supply teaching assistants across a wide variety of educational sectors. We work with numerous SEND schools across the Thames Valley and surrounding areas, but also are able to help candidates who want to land any of the following:
We also work directly with schools which are recruiting for these positions, where we can help secure the perfect candidate for you. Rather than outsource your education recruitment, our experience as one of Berkshire’s leading teaching recruitment agencies has helped schools and teachers land their ideal teaching roles.
Our approach is to ensure our candidates get the added value and support they need no matter their stage in their teaching journey, as well as ensuring our schools get a completely transparent and wholesome service.