We asked our teachers whether they preferred teaching SEN students or mainstream, and to our initial surprise, the answer is often SEN. Teachers simply say it is the most rewarding.
However rewarding being a SEN teacher of SEN students is, it is most certainly – challenging at times. So if you want to become or are already a SEN teacher, taking specialist training and gaining experience in methods likes Makaton, PECs & Team Teach are extremely beneficial.
In the following text some Cassidy Education teachers to share their knowledge on other things can help just as much!
While training and qualifications are great to have, they do not substitute for your natural empathy and compassion, or your hard work and passion.
All students learn in different ways, and the best teachers can adapt their lessons to the learning strengths of each child, including all children in the learning process. Meaning, you are teaching the same topic a few different ways to ensure all understand it. So creativity is an important trait to have if you want to be a fantastic SEN teacher.
We asked our teachers what items every SEN teacher should have in their classroom, as they encounter different challenges and therefore they need different tools. We list below 10 must have items every SEN teacher should have in their classroom.
1. Visual Support
For many SEN students, visuals provide a lifeline, especially in a mainstream setting. Visual support allows SEN students easier access to the curriculum and supports the inclusion process.
2. Sensory Items
Fidget spinners, therapy balls/bands and alike can be outstanding in the classroom as it helps students find sensory balance and aids in preparing for their academic work.
3. Reader trackers and highlighter strips
Trackers and highlighter strips can help students struggling with reading not to skip lines, which can vastly improve their reading accuracy and comprehension.
4. Countdown Clock
Using a countdown timer in class is an excellent way to ready students for transitions. For many SEN students, time is a concept difficult to comprehend, so using a visual aid such as a timer, can help with timely task completion. A timer can help put SEN students at ease with any changes a transition may bring.
5. Shaving Foam
Shaving cream is a fun way practice spelling words and learning the formation of numbers. A fun way to engage students and develop fine motor skills.
6. Visualise Rules and Expectations
It is important for students with special needs to understand your expectations of them. SEN students often thrive off rules and consistency. Try posting some fundamental rules in a central location so you can quickly draw attention to them when necessary.
Recognising their good behaviour is of particular importance for SEN students who tend to thrive when a reward system is in place. Something basic such as earning a sticker or marbles, etc. that when a certain number is reached, they can choose a prize or a classroom activity, certainly works! Reward systems do not have to be a significant expense – a trip to any bargain pound shop will suffice and well worth it to avoid any negative behaviour!
All students love new technology. The same task on a computer is 10x more engaging than when presented as a work sheet. If your school has iPads, you can take advantage of many amazing apps available for special education.
We hope you enjoyed this article and if you feel you could add to the list, please share and leave a comment below.