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Transition from mainstream to SEN

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by Stann35, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. Stann35

    Stann35 New commenter

    Hi I have started working in a Special School after 15 years in the same mainstream school. Right now, I feel out of my depth and wondered if anyone else has made the transition, been where I am and come out the other side.

    I was unhappy at my last school and don't do change well, so the fact I wanted to get a new job, let alone move to a completely different area said a lot about my unhappiness! After working in a Special School when training, it was something I have always had an interest in so when this job came up I felt it was right. I have 9 children who are classed as SLD. They are a diverse but lovely bunch and I am surrounded by wonderful TAs who know the children well. The staff in the school are very supportive too. I realised the only one putting pressure on me, is me and I am trying to shake it off and concentrate on getting to know the children. It's early days and I knew it would be hard but it's always been a passion and I want to get it right for the children in my care. Thanks for reading. Stann x
  2. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    Hi Stann, welcome to special. It's a steep learning curve, not for everyone but well worth the effort. Your current panic is very familiar to those of us who've been around here a while. You can do this. The school obviously believe you can or they wouldn't have appointed you.
    You are not alone, We're here to help. PM me if you want specific advice. If not, take your own advice and spend time getting to know the class and letting them know you.
  3. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    I worked in mainstream abroad for 4 years and I found the step to SEN huge. Initially I thought it was a lot easier (I mean, how hard can it be to teach 8 kids...) but I quickly realised it was very different. Not necessarily harder than mainstream, but very different.
    This is my third year in SEN (started as TA, then student teacher and now NQT) and I spent this whole first term getting to know the kids and build good relations with them and the team.
    I have a class with mostly ASD/SLD learners now but last year most of them were "only" SLD so if you have any specific questions I might be able to help you.
    You are probably doing great and it sounds like you have a very supportive school so try not to be too hard on yourself :).
    ScotSEN likes this.
  4. ScotSEN

    ScotSEN Senior commenter

    Hi It is a steep learning curve. Not only getting to know the children and the best strategies for working with them but also managing your support team. I started off in SEN on supply and at times I though that I would rather teach 33 challenging P7s than the 10 yound pupils I had. However within a couple of months I realised that no matter how hard it was I really didn't want to go back to mainstream. You sound as though you are in a supportive environment so make the most of it. And enjoy.
  5. SIB13

    SIB13 New commenter

    Hi Stann, I'm in a similar position to yourself, newly into a Special School and trying to find my feet and ensure the children are engaged as I'm further up the school than I have been used to being. I'm in the same boat also as having joined a team of fantastic practitioners but I'm feeling inadequate as I feel I'm playing catchup a lot of the time. I'm know that I'll catch up sooner rather than later cos I know it' important. I'm enjoying it immensely but look forward to the day when I have a better understanding of what the children need and a better delivery of an interesting curriculum for the class.
  6. shinyshapter

    shinyshapter New commenter

    I work in SEN but in SEC&L, so the ability wasn't so far removed from my work at mainstream but the behaviour was and although I knew it would be tough it probably took a good 12 months until I felt I was being effective. Hopefully your school is supportive and are giving you CPD opportunities. I have found the change in career direction refreshing, hard work but really interesting and rewarding. 3 years on, no regrets.
    Good luck!
  7. Stann35

    Stann35 New commenter

    Hi everyone. Thank you so much for your supportive and encouraging replies. I made it to half term and have to say I love it! I know I have so much to learn and think even then I will continue learning, but I am enjoying it. I feel revitalised, happy and enjoy teaching again- even if I am completely shattered at the end of every day! Thanks everyone again x
    minnie me likes this.
  8. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    I am currently in this situation. I transferred to special in September. Although my current workplace is not for me, I absolutely love the children and what I am learning from them. The change has definitely been for the best. My problems lie away from special needs itself and the children sadly.

    I cannot wait to start applying for new jobs for September and bring everything I will have learnt since September with me to start in a new post (hopefully I will get one ha ha) where I am valued!

    It has been a steep but positive learning experience. It is hilarious how you go in trying to use your mainstream techniques you've built up over the years and realise they are all irrelevant very very quickly. That said there is nothing quite like the special needs child, I am quite honestly in love with each and every one of my class. My techniques of acceptance and not expecting children to fit into an "expected mould" are frowned upon but I know that is why they aren't in mainstream and I will continue to adjust to them - rather than trying to make them adjust to me!

    Someone to watch who I have found inspiring is on facebook - special books by special kids - the teacher is secondary and it is American - but he is amazing in his love for his students and other special needs children. Watching his videos reminds me most days why I made the change!

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