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Teaching in a special school.............

Discussion in 'Personal' started by BelleDuJour, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    I've been most of this year on long term supply in a PRU.
    This half term I've moved on to a special school and what an experience it is.
    The school is residential and serves the profoundly autisitc. I'm working with the 16-19 year olds. The boys are non-verbal and some are violent, but I am finding the whole experience a real eye-opener and very interesting.
    It's strange to get used to the 'touchy/feely' aspects of working with such youngsters, and getting then changed for swimming, or seeing them pee (or worse!) in front of you in the playground. Some of them are very vocal (not verbal) and others self harm by biting themselves (and staff on occassions).
    As a scientist I can't help wondering what goes on in their heads and I have suddenly become very interested in finding out more about autism and it's causes........fascinating.
    Also I'm being given the opportunity to learn sign language, which I'm really looking forward to.
    I take my hat off to all the staff (teaching and support) who work with these youngsters and feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with them.
    I don't feel this is a long term career move as I know in time I shall miss the academic side of teaching but I am very pleased to be able to experience this.
    Anyone else had any similar experiences?
     
  2. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    I've been most of this year on long term supply in a PRU.
    This half term I've moved on to a special school and what an experience it is.
    The school is residential and serves the profoundly autisitc. I'm working with the 16-19 year olds. The boys are non-verbal and some are violent, but I am finding the whole experience a real eye-opener and very interesting.
    It's strange to get used to the 'touchy/feely' aspects of working with such youngsters, and getting then changed for swimming, or seeing them pee (or worse!) in front of you in the playground. Some of them are very vocal (not verbal) and others self harm by biting themselves (and staff on occassions).
    As a scientist I can't help wondering what goes on in their heads and I have suddenly become very interested in finding out more about autism and it's causes........fascinating.
    Also I'm being given the opportunity to learn sign language, which I'm really looking forward to.
    I take my hat off to all the staff (teaching and support) who work with these youngsters and feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with them.
    I don't feel this is a long term career move as I know in time I shall miss the academic side of teaching but I am very pleased to be able to experience this.
    Anyone else had any similar experiences?
     
  3. I'm so pleased you are having a positive experience in specialist provision. I worked in a school for Language Impaired youngsters for a long time and we had many students on the autistic spectrum. I agree, it is fascinating, sad, joyful and deeply moving to work with such people and it certainly helps you to appreciate things you tend to overlook in your own life.
     
  4. What is the point of this thread? I can't help but see it as 'look at me and what I have been doing'.
     
  5. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    No, it's not about that.
    I'd genuinely like to hear of anyone else's experience in this field as this is my first time. I've looked on the SEN board but there's nothing on there really that covers the kind of school I'm in at the mo.
    FWIW I don't consider myself particularly special, or even good at what I'm doing......there are so many others that are so very good with these youngsters. If I'm a fraction as good by the end of my time I'll be happy.
    In fact, just to show my 'ignorance' I really had no idea what these schools were like until now.
     
  6. I once worked in a school of children with epilepsy,who also had other profound difficulties. I worked with students aged 14-21. I think the most profound part of the job was realising that you were providing these children with what will most likely be the most positive experience in their life. Most will end up in a group home after school and so these few years, where they have a lot of fun experiences, including the most amazing and creative music and drama department I have ever seen, will be the only years where they can have these fun experiences. I often went home stressed/upset/puzzled as I would have had a long day trying to help a boy of 14 learn to count to ten, which he found frustrating and boring and tedious, which as far as I could see would never be a skill he could or would use in life, when he could have been out gardening, which is what he wanted to do. The government does not provide the kind of one to one funding these children got for a lifetime, so I often felt that it would be better used providing them with a really high quality of life while we could, rather than enforce learning on them which was in line with the NC, which in reality, would not be much use to them.

    I am not sure how much sense this post makes...
     
  7. Samjam1

    Samjam1 New commenter

    I don't know anything much about this kind of education either Belle, but Mr SJ did two years in what sounds like a similar sort of environment and found it very tough but very fulfilling. I think it's great you have been offered this opportunity, and great that you are embracing it, because it is VERY challenging, obviously. I hope you succeed and the pupils do well.

    I didn't think your post was self serving, by the way.
     
  8. Nor did I.
    I take my hat off to anyone who can cope in that environment. Severely autistic people must be very challenging to teach. I have experience of the much milder end of the spectrum, kids almost all able to cope in mainstream, and like you found it objectively interesting but I didn't feel any real sense of involvement apart from getting fiercely defensive on their behalf when other kids mocked them.
    I'm glad that somebody can do it.
     
  9. I've no desire to watch anybody pee!
     
  10. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    6 years in Primary EBD
    still sane -ish
     
  11. After nearly 6 years in mainstream I am now working in a seconday EBD school teaching science...definitely different, definitely more rewarding.
    And after just two terms I am still sane...and giraffe gives me hope that this will continue!
     
  12. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    A lot!
    True. The school I'm in seems to waste a lot of time and paper matching up what we do to the NC, which is no use to them at all! We do things like relate weighing and measuring in cookery to numeracy. They don't need numeracy per se so let's just get on with letting them have some fun in the kitchen!

     
  13. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Nor do I really but that's nothing to what else they do! I'm just so totally impressed by the staff at this school.
     
  14. And what is wrong with that? I have no experience of the sort of environment BdJ is talking about, so its very interesting for me.
    I once caught three Y2 boys having a peeing contest (literally!) against a wall in the playground. They were seeing who could pee highest. Dirty little beggars.
     
  15. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Thank you......and that is my point exactly. It is very interesting for me and I have little/no prior experience so any light that can be shed on this kind of school is very useful to me.
    One thing is for sure.....I've never been so totally exhausted in my life!
     
  16. And as I said, what was your point? If it was very much about what you had seen why not get to the point of it? If you wanted to know others' experience perhaps you should have started with this rather than at the end of an opening post which, on face value, seems to be very much 'me, me, me and I'm so wonderful for doing this'.
     
  17. Samjam1

    Samjam1 New commenter

    Disgree - Belle said that she was working there, gave a bit of background and asked for advice/experience in this field.
     
  18. I must have missed the request for advice. Or perhaps not.
     
  19. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    And what exactly is your point Dande?
    Do you work in a special school? If so please share your experiences.
    If not, and this thread offends you, do not post.
     
  20. Samjam1

    Samjam1 New commenter

    Well, I thought the request for info on others' experience and question as to who else had experience in this field was tantamount to a request for advice?
     

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