S1 & S7 – SEND Placement

The main success of my SEND placement on me as a trainee was to re-discover my natural drive to help those in need and in turn, enjoy working as a trainee teacher. My enjoyment at my SEND school was due to many different reasons but one of the main ones was the sense of satisfaction that I felt from helping these children and in turn I felt my time and effort was greatly appreciated by most children.

While most children let me know of their positive feelings towards me through many forms of expression, mainly including speech and touch, as many children I found did not have the association with personal space as children in mainstream schools are taught to have. A few children in particular were fond of feeling the clothes I wore (if soft) or holding my hand regularly. Although slightly uncomfortable at first, I realized that these children felt more confident in expressing gratitude in this way rather than speech, so I quickly relaxed to this form of affection.

What really surprised me at Redgate was that every child in the classroom seemed to really appreciate my presence in the classroom. Even a child who seemed quite withdrawn to me refused to come back to class in the afternoon because he found out that I was in another class that afternoon. This boy showed little/ no visible emotion and was only in Redgate for serious behavioural issues and not anything else (e.g. autism). I was informed by a member of staff that his reaction was uniquely out-of- character, as he usually does not react well to new people. This reaction from this child in particular really surprised me, in which I would call my greatest success so far at Redgate is to be simply be liked and trusted by both children and staff. The impact this had on me as a trainee was to really consider a special school route as perhaps the possible route for me, which is a big change personally as I am now considering my future in teaching carefully.

Although I haven’t had chance to teach a full class yet, the main teaching standard that I concentrated on was Standard 1, in which I set high standards through language and manners; a variety of social skills. I used repetition with the children to correct any slang/ mispronunciation, along with discouraging swearing (in some cases). In one case, I have also had to act as a physical block between two angry children, where one member of staff took care of one child, I had to use my words alone to calm down this child who was close to losing control. I did this by staying calm myself in a very hostile situation, taking the boy through some slow breathing exercises while reminding him he is ok and safe now. It seemed my calm demeanor had a knock on effect in defusing the situation with this particular child, demonstrating that he can (with help) control his anger.

In this situation I demonstrated high values of behaviour and self preservation, which in turn had a positive effect on this particular child.

The next steps would be to spend more time with these children in order to learn their triggers (what makes them angry) in order to minimise the amount of hostile conflicts and stop them before they escalate.