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Advice- First time classroom experience in SEN school

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by emmag92, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    I'm going to meet with the headteacher of a local SEN school soon and then hopefully help out there for a week or so to get some experience as I'm considering careers in teaching or educational psychology.

    I have experience in working with children and I once did work experience in a primary school but I don't have much experience in dealing with children with special needs though, and was wondering if anyone experienced in SEN teaching or assisting has any advice on what to expect or how best to help out?

    From reading the school's inspection report the children are primary and secondary school aged with a wide range of support needs and most have moderate learning difficulties but some have more complex learning difficulties.

    Also do you think I should dress formally for the meeting or just look smart-ish? I arranged it over the phone and it seemed quite informal. Do SEN teaching assistants usually wear casual clothes?

    Thanks for any help!
  2. Hi, Good luck - special is a fabulous place to be! Clothing wise I would dress fairly smartly for an initial visit, I prefer trousers because you spend a bit of time on the floor, chasing round etc... Most teachers in my school do dress more casually than mainstream but not all do.
    It's hard to say what to expect because every child and every class in the school will be different. When I looked round before my interview I supported the children I was told to and avoided those I was told to too!! Some children won't take easily to someone new and will take a while to get used to your presence so be guided by the staff who know them. Some may look like they are going to hug you and then bite or pinch instead :) BUT there will also be plenty who do like being near you!
    Try to join in the songs, and encourage the children to participate as best they can. It really is somewhere that you will love or hate, I love it :)
  3. Thanks for the help! :) Yeah I think I'll go with black trousers.

    Yeah I'm not sure how I'll find it yet but it'll be really useful experience to decide whether educational psychology is for me, as I've learnt a lot about disorders like autism but I don't know what the children are actually like in person and whether I enjoy working with them or whether I work best with the children there with milder learning difficulties and so decide that I'd prefer to work in a mainstream school. I'm also going to a local state school too for a few days to sit in on some science lessons I think so I'll be able to get experience of more usual classroom teaching too.

    I'm quite excited!

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