What do Teachers New to Special Education (SEND) Need to Know?
New to special ed? Sarah Helton and a small, tight-knit community of professionals are ready to welcome you this September…
- by Sarah Helton
A career in Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) is like Marmite. You will either love it or hate it. It will either be 100% for you – or not. And trust me, to do this job well you’ll have to love it.
This is an immensely challenging and difficult career – there are no half measures in SEND, but once you’ve seen that you love it, you’ll be spreading your toast thickly with Marmite and you’ll never want to leave.
The world of SEND teaching is a rather small one. A teacher that is new to this world can often find it rather difficult to get into, and at times somewhat isolating to be in. This is short lived though.
Once you are immersed in this unique and privileged club you’ll be enveloped in so much dedication, knowledge, expertise and support that you’ll be amazed.
This will come from your colleagues, the families of your pupils and the pupils themselves. Each and every child that I have had the pleasure of working with has taught me so much. Sometimes I think they are the teachers rather than me!
Digital colleagues – an incredible form of support and advice
The world of SEND can at first seem overwhelming. In reality it’s a very supportive and tight-knit community.
There will be a wealth of support and advice that you can gain from the colleagues in your own school and other schools in your local area – both special and mainstream schools, and I highly recommend you make connections with staff in all types of schools in your area.
These local connections will be invaluable for training opportunities, sharing ideas, sharing physical resources etc.
But there’s another incredible source of support and advice – your digital colleagues. Other teachers working across the UK and around the globe. You can access this mass of expertise on all forms of social media.
Here are two of my favourites (ones from which I have learnt so much)
- The Department for Education’s SLD Forum. You can subscribe here.
- @SENexchange on Twitter. They also have a weekly live discussion #SENexchange on Wednesdays at 8:00 to 8:30
I’d love to hear of other ways that you connect digitally with fellow SEND professionals. Please contact me:
Sarah Helton BackPocketTeacher