Working in the field of education is a unique opportunity to play a prominent role in influencing and shaping the lives of young people. Working with special needs children makes an already incredibly rewarding experience even more so. Of course, although working with special needs children is definitely rewarding and worthwhile, it is also at times very challenging. Overcoming the challenges that both you, and the students, will face in the classroom is what being a special needs educator is all about.
Those who work in education, like others whose work involves caring for others, are people who are passionate and empathetic. Teaching isn’t an easy job at the best of times, but some people relish a challenge and find that they do their best work when under the most pressure. If you think that this sounds like you then you may be well suited to a job as a SEN teacher.
Five ways that you can bring out the very best in all of your special education needs students:
Discover Their Strengths
Everyone is good at something, we all have some talent lurking somewhere. Unfortunately, many people go through their entire lives without ever discovering their talents. Even those of us without special needs often struggle to define our own strengths, many of us dread the classic interview question about what we think our own strengths are.
Work with your special needs students to help them identify their strengths; you can then work with them to hone and refine these skills. As well as looking at where they perform well academically, ask them what their hobbies and interests are. This will give you a good idea of some other areas that they might find interesting.
Provide them with Role Models
It is well worth taking the time to show your special needs students some examples of successful or famous people who also have disabilities. As a society, we very rarely venerate disabled people in the way that we do with most celebrities. People like Stephen Hawking are very much the exception rather than the rule. Most children have plenty of celebrities to look up to, but for disabled children, there is often a discomforting lack of options.
Personalise Your Learning Strategies
Once you have identified individual students’ strengths, and they have become more confident in identifying their own, then you can start to look at devising lesson plans which play to the strengths of each student.
There is a very strong argument that our educational system would be improved if it were more personalised for individual students, instead of trying to teach everyone in the same way. With special needs children, the difference that an individually tailored plan can make is even more profound.
Use Assistive Learning Technologies
Assistive learning technologies, such as apps, can help you to really capitalise on the talents that your students have. Making lessons more interactive is always a good way of helping students to remember your lessons.
For students who struggle to write or type, software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking allow users to dictate documents with ease.
Help Them See the Future
Helping your children to think about a long-term future and set themselves long-term goals is an excellent way of motivating them. You will also encourage them to think about the work they do in terms of a bigger picture.
If you would like to be involved in teaching SEN students then you should contact us at Point to Point and submit an instant application. We have numerous job opportunities currently available within this sector.