Worth biting the bullet

8th April 2005 at 01:00
After two years on the unqualified teachers scale in two mainstream inner-London schools I knew I wanted to specialise in special needs. I have always worked in these departments, and in the second mainstream school it was the severe learning difficulties pupils that got my attention.

Once I'd qualified I decided to complete my NQT year at a special needs school. Friends and colleagues thought I was looking for an easy ride: smaller classes, more support. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I wanted to do it anyway.

I approached the change as professionally as I could: I did my research, spoke to colleagues in and outside the field, searched websites for resources. I figured that I'd been around the block having spent many years teaching in Jamaica and three years working in mainstream London schools. I felt prepared for anything.

How could I be so wrong? I got my SLD post and at the start of the first week I marched into school ready to take on the challenge. I was ecstatic when I met my students. At the end of the week I questioned my sanity - what had I done? I was weary, distressed and down-trodden. My ears ached with the screaming of one child who found it difficult to adjust to the loss of his favourite teacher and to accept me as his replacement. I was chased around the playground by another. I didn't expect this. The hours were long and at times I wondered if I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

I've been here almost a year. Time has passed. I've grown, my pupils have adjusted to change. The staff are great, especially my class team. I'm glad I bit the bullet and made the swap.

Odette Small is a teacher at Michael Tippett school in the London borough of Lambeth

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now