Building Relationships with Students: A SEN Teacher's Role
An SEN Teacher is not easy to come by, but they are worth their weight in gold when you find one. These teachers don't just teach students with special needs; they provide them with a sense of connection and belonging that can be hard to find elsewhere. This article will provide information on becoming an SEN Teacher and what it takes to succeed as one!
What is an SEN Teacher?
An SEN Teacher is a special education teacher that works with students who have autism, emotional and behavioural disorders or learning disabilities. This job includes working in the classroom to help children and young people learn appropriate social skills and assisting them with their academic work. In addition, they must create individualized lesson plans for each student based on their abilities.
What does an SEN Teacher do?
SEN Teachers help students who have learning difficulties. These children may be in mainstream schools or special education needs (SEN) schools, often called 'special' schools. SEN Teachers work alongside other professionals to provide support for these students and their families.
How to become an SEN Teacher?
To become an SEN Teacher, you must meet specific criteria. You need to have relevant qualifications in the field of teaching or tutoring, with Early Childhood or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) being particularly relevant. Some schools will consider non-teaching professionals who are already working with children with special needs if they can show experience of this type of work. Other teachers may choose to take specific courses in the area of special education.
SEND students can have a wide range of disabilities and may need support within or outside the classroom to access their learning; for example, they might require specialist equipment, modifications to how lessons are delivered or frequent breaks during an intense lesson.
It's essential to keep in mind that SEN students will often require a lot of support. This can mean they may become easily frustrated or disruptive. Therefore, it is essential for you as the teacher to remember your training and be able to offer them appropriate modification, which might include additional time, specific tasks or assignments and working in small groups or on a one-to-one basis.
Lesson planning can also be a challenge for some teachers who may not have experience working with children and young people who require bespoke support. Keep in mind that these children might require additional time both within the lesson itself and outside of class activities when they work on projects that could take much longer to complete. Teachers who work with this group of students must remember how much more effort they require to stay focused and on task, so it may be necessary for some extra guidance outside of the classroom.
What does it take to become an SEN Teacher?
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design a bespoke curriculum for each learner
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
- knowledge of the English language
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to understand people's reactions
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
How do I become an SEN Teacher?
To become an SEN Teacher, you need to become qualified. There are many routes into teaching, and you should find the best option to suit you. It takes a lot of commitment on your part to become a qualified teacher. Some teachers have qualifications specific to the field they teach, which is particularly useful if it's maths or science. There are often additional modules that need completing alongside your degree.
Like SEN teachers, other teachers obtain a teaching qualification and then specialise later.
Not all degrees are created equal, so it's essential to make sure you choose a course which will result in a relevant qualification which will enable you to achieve your teaching goal.
SEN Teachers need to understand and work with children of all abilities, so they will often need to gain experience working in schools or colleges alongside their studies.
Can I become an SEN Teacher as a recent graduate?
Yes, you can! It's never too early to start thinking about your career. Many SEN teachers start their careers as teaching assistants. You will gain valuable experience and training which is essential if you are to become an SEN teacher. Many education provisions will support you through your studies and qualifications if they can see your potential and our desire to have a long-term career in their setting.
Seek out a mentor who you can learn from and who will offer you guidance and support when necessary.
SEN Teachers can expect a starting salary of between £23,000-£27,000 per annum, depending on stage of education or training level achieved (degree vs diploma).
What qualifications do you need to become an SEN Teacher?
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths.
- GCSE science at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) for primary school teaching.
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree.
- A degree in any subject for a postgraduate course.
SEN Teachers need a degree first and foremost. They have to pass the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) after they have graduated. As teachers are expected to keep on top of their knowledge base through continuing professional development (CPD), SEN Teachers may take additional courses that will help them specialize further in this area.
Through School-Centred Initial Teacher Training, School Direct or Teach First. These are all different school-based qualifications which allow you to gain experience in a school while working towards QTS.
As well as having QTS you must have a SEN qualification that is not older than three years and you may need specific qualifications if you are working with children with disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments
How to find an SEN Teacher for your child?
Finding a good teacher can be difficult. There are several different ways you can try and search, but it will depend on how old your child is at this point. For children who are very young with special needs, parents and caregivers may not know what they're looking for in a teacher.
You may want to consider talking with the child's current teachers and getting some referrals that way.
There are many ways to find an SEN Teacher. For example, you can ask family and friends if they know someone who can provide this kind of care for your child, you can search online on forums or social media groups dedicated to parents with special needs children or join the Facebook group “Special Education” where people share their contacts in the UK.
Applying for SEN Teaching jobs
Applying for SEN Teaching jobs is the same as applying for any other teaching job, but there are a few things to consider. It will be beneficial if you have experience working with SEN students or children who have disabilities or learning difficulties. You should also consider your location when applying - do you want to commute every day? How far is too far away from home? This is something you should consider before applying.
You should also ensure that you are willing to commit yourself fully to teaching and make sure that you can adapt your teaching style depending on the student's needs.
A short guide on applying for SEN jobs
- Firstly, you can find out if there are any suitable positions in your area by visiting local school websites or social media pages. If they are not advertising currently, then it's worth contacting them to see if you can do some work experience.
- You can take the stress out of searching for teaching positions by applying for SEN teaching jobs online via job boards such as Senploy. This is a one-stop-shop for positions working in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
- There are also other options - some schools advertise their positions in local newspapers, so don't forget to check those out as well!
- Some schools and education recruitment agencies also advertise their positions on social media pages such as Facebook.
- It's worth having your CV reviewed by an experienced SEN teacher or education recruitment agency. They can tell you what they think and whether it will be suitable for the teaching positions that are currently available
- All educators in the UK require an Enhanced DBS certificate in order to practice.
It takes a great deal of patience and skill to be an SEN Teacher. If you're interested in this profession, contact us today for more information on how you can become one! We hope that our blog post has helped introduce the world of SEN Teaching to you.
What are your thoughts on what we've discussed?
Let us know below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about becoming an SEN Teacher.