Teaching, in general, is far from the easiest job in the world. Being a Special Needs Teacher – SEN – in London can be even more challenging. SEN jobs in London call for candidates who possess not only the right educational certifications and skills but the most successful also have certain traits that really are not taught in a classroom.
What are these traits that help make those filling SEN teacher jobs in London so special? Let’s take a look at some of the most important:
SEN teachers need to exercise patience and lots of it. Working with special needs children brings with it all kinds of behaviors that can be frustrating for a teacher – aggression, disobedience, the need for lots of repetition, refusals to cooperate and more. However, when these pupils are patiently taught by a caring teacher and make those heartwarming breakthroughs then most SEN teachers find that it’s all worth every minute.
All kids tend to respond best when their teacher is enthusiastic about what they are doing and what they are asking their pupils to do. Yes, it can feel a little more like putting on a show rather than teaching a class but it is very hard to engage learners if you have the enthusiasm of a damp sponge yourself.
Those who excel in SEN jobs in London have developed both a thick skin and a high level of empathy and understanding. On the days when they are ignored, sworn at, shouted at or even nipped at they are able to take a step back and try to see things from the child’s point of view.
For example, the difference between playing with a blue car or a green car would seem very insignificant to most, but to a child with Autism getting the ‘wrong car’ can feel like the end of the world.
Taking the time to get to know each child and their IEPs (Individual Education Plans) as soon as possible when beginning work with them is key, but the best SEN teachers also know that observation and as much conversation with each pupil as possible are big keys to understanding them as well.
For many in SEN jobs in London, one of the best aspects of their job is the fact that working with special needs children does give the chance to exercise a great deal of creativity. To be most successful and SEN teacher needs to engage each pupil in whatever ways they can, opening the door to all kinds of fun and artistic endeavors that may not be quite suited to a lesson plan for a mainstream class. This freedom in teaching can be both very empowering and very satisfying.
A Good Sense of Humour
Ask any SEN teacher and they will tell you that you need a good sense of humour to survive – and thrive – in the field. Without the ability to laugh – especially when things go wrong – many SEN teachers feel that a candidate simply won’t last in the job.
All of the traits mentioned here are great for any teacher to possess, but for an SEN teacher they can prove invaluable, both for the very special pupils they are tasked with engaging and educating and for the teacher themselves!