Specialist Experience and Skills
My skills and experience supporting students with Autism (including high-functioning)
I have worked in the primary educational setting for nine years and within these nine years, I have trained and worked in both mainstream schools and a special school supporting children with Autism, as a teacher, interventions teacher and as a teaching assistant. Currently I am a class teacher and Year Leader in a North London primary school where I plan and teach individually-tailored lessons and interventions for SEN-D children. I work closely with the school SENCO to create learning plans to suit the n... Read More
My skills and experience supporting students with Autism (including high-functioning)
I have worked in the primary educational setting for nine years and within these nine years, I have trained and worked in both mainstream schools and a special school supporting children with Autism, as a teacher, interventions teacher and as a teaching assistant. Currently I am a class teacher and Year Leader in a North London primary school where I plan and teach individually-tailored lessons and interventions for SEN-D children. I work closely with the school SENCO to create learning plans to suit the needs of the children; this involves accurate assessments, setting achievable targets and the development of a tailored curriculum. I have also worked as a tutor for many years, and in this time, I have worked with a number of children with ASD; I tailor my strategies and approaches according to each child’s individual needs and use a range of resources such as visual timetables, PECS, colourful semantics, writing frames and many other manipulatives such as Numicon, dienes etc. to support children’s learning and understanding. I also use the children’s interests to help me plan engaging and interesting activities suitable for the individual child.
My experience in developing meaningful and trusting relationship with children with SEN including autism
I have worked closely with children with SEN including Autism for many years. Understandably, it takes time for a child to trust someone who they have not worked before and I am respectful of the time it takes for a student to ‘warm up’. Strategies I like to use and have found successful, include bringing some items/photos about myself and my life and to share them with the child. I also share my likes and dislikes and stories about myself that I think are relatable and relevant to the child I am working with. During initial sessions, I like to have the session where the child feels comfortable, and the session is carried out in a relaxed and casual manner (even if it includes sitting on the floor). I like to encourage my students to tell me their likes and dislikes and show me their favourite items too. I also write schedules up on a whiteboard at the start of a session, to ensure the child feels in control and also so there are no sudden surprises that can cause discomfort. When children are feeling particularly anxious or not ready for the lesson, I wait patiently until they are calm and ready. This has been a successful technique, particularly when working with children with Autism.
My skills and experience supporting students with Maths
Being a class teacher and Year Leader, I have developed and adapted our Maths Curriculum for Year 3, over a number of years and I am constantly tweaking the lessons to suit the needs of all the children in the classes. In addition, I have Mathematics Specialism with my teaching degree and have run Maths Intervention groups for over 6 years for children who find Maths and mathematical concepts challenging. The use of manipulatives such as Numicon, Dienes Blocks, fraction walls, tens frames and place value charts is a key element of my teaching as I find it really helps children to visualise and make sense of the calculations. Revising the basic key concepts and four operations of maths is fundamental and is vital to securing a solid understanding of mathematical concepts.
I have also incorporated fun role play activities when tutoring children in Maths such as playing ‘shopkeepers’ to learn how to add and subtract, familiarise with money and giving and receiving change; cooking & baking to practise the skills of measuring, reading scales and understanding the concept of fractions; plus making structures which involve estimation and calculation.
My skills and experience supporting students with English, Reading, Writing & Spelling
English, reading, writing and spelling are lessons of high importance to me. I teach literacy skills on a daily basis, in school, and I often plan my literacy units from scratch, using the Pie Corbett structure- Talk for Writing or by using The Write Stuff (Jane Considine model). The structure of one of my Literacy units include: Writing a cold task- to assess the writing needs of the student; familiarising with a model text and unpicking the specific key features used to write the piece of text; creating and drawing a story map and retelling the text to learn and hear how it should be structured; planning and writing a hot task which involves writing up the plan, using mini success criterias to guide the student. Finally, the writing is ‘published’ and written up on beautiful, bordered paper so the student has a final copy of their work. This is an important part of the unit as helping the child become proud of their writing, is an essential element of successful learning.
In addition, I teach spelling/phonics through a variety of ways, often using Phonics Play to guide my planning. Using spelling apps also makes spelling more engaging and fun and encourages children to practise their spellings!
Reading & Comprehension are again very important to a child’s learning and I teach this subject daily with my class. I often separate comprehension lessons and tutoring sessions into sections e.g. Session 1- read text and identity new vocabulary; session 2- sketch the text to make sense of the text, session 3- verbal and written comprehension questions, session 4- activities to practise inferencing skills. I also read to children in addition to listening to children read to me, as I believe it is highly important for children to hear how punctuation is acknowledged when reading, plus intonations and use of expression also needs to be modelled to help a student read successfully.
My skills and experience teaching children with writing resistance
Often, there are children who find writing a struggle and have some resistance to picking up a pen and writing. I help to encourage the generation of ideas through exciting lessons, tailored to the children’s likes and interests and create mind maps and box up plans to help them jot down their ideas. Through drama, drawing, games and cloze activities, the children learn to write, in small chunks. Slowly, the children chunk together a bigger piece.
With longer pieces, I allow children to type their stories and create their stories on story apps. I have found these apps really help boost the student’s love for writing and to help the children become proud of the work.
For more reluctant writers, I like to ‘share’ the writing and scribe parts of the text for them to make the task seem less daunting.
My skills and experience teaching children with handwriting
Having taught reception, KS1 year groups and Year 3, handwriting has been an essential daily lesson. I use books with double lines to help children form their letters and control the size of their letters. I also like to use whiteboards and fingers to trace around letters to ensure the correct formation in a fun and engaging way. Currently, I use the PenPals handwriting scheme to teach with.
Depending on the child’s control and fine motor skills, I look for ways to support pencil-holding e.g. using pencil grips, changing the thickness of the pencils or by using different types of pencils to help the child with pencil pressure.
My skills and experience supporting students in KS1
I have worked as an interventions teacher in Reception and Year 1 supporting children with Phonics and writing. I designed, planned and taught units of lessons to help under-achieving children to catch up with their peers in these subjects. In addition, I have tutored a number of children in KS1 and Reception; lessons primarily focused on Phonics, mathematics and writing, all tailored to suit the needs and age of the child. Currently, I am a Year 3 teacher (Lower KS2) where there are a number of children who benefit from working through a KS1 curriculum, particularly children whose education has been affected by the pandemic. I plan using KS1 material and resources and set targets from the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1.
I have worked in Summer Camps too (including SENsational Summer Camps!) which incorporated the use of fun, play-based learning which creates an enjoyable, effective and memorable way for children to learn and a style I incorporate when teaching.
My skills and experience supporting students in KS2
I have worked as Year 3 teacher and Year leader for 4 years, developing the curriculum and overseeing the planning and teaching for my Year group. I have also completed school-based training in Year 5 and have tutored children aged between 4-14 for nine years.
My skills and experience working with families and children to help them unlock and reach their potential
I have worked with many families and children over the years, both when tutoring and as a class teacher. At the end of every tutoring session, I provide feedback of the lesson, and give targets for parents and carers to work on, to ensure we are all working towards the same goal, in a consistent manner. It is also important for the family and I to understand the strategies we will jointly use and to create the sense of a ‘team’. Families know their own children so well and any information becomes invaluable knowledge for tutors as understandably, good and trusting relationships take a little time to develop.
My skills and experience helping students to develop focus and concentration
Having worked with children in specialist settings and lower KS year groups, developing attention, focus and organisational skills is something that is part of my every day practise. I encourage independence where possible and use visual cues frequently to engage learners. I also have a bank of resources that are used to develop attention skills. I tailor lessons to suit the interests of the child and I find this is a very effective way to maintain the learner’s focus and concentration.
My skills and experience developing motivation and engagement in learning
I am an animated and energetic teacher! I motivate the children I work with, through a variety of ways, including praise, rewards and friendly competitions. I am passionate about helping children to develop a growth mindset, a can-do attitude and a love of learning. This is the core of all my lessons, including the development of resilience and perseverance. All of these things need to be consistently built into a lesson, which I believe I achieve, in every lesson that I teach.
My skills and experience boosting students’ self-esteem and confidence
My favourite classroom motto is ‘Mistakes are proof that you are trying!’ I welcome mistakes with open arms and often thank children for their ‘boo-boos!’ I believe it is highly important to show children that it is ok to make mistakes and often deliberately make them myself to show that it is something to embrace. Learning without mistakes is not really learning after all! From my past experience, I have encountered many children who are quite harsh on themselves, which in turn has affected their self-esteem and confidence. Through consistent approaches and praise, I have seen and witnessed children develop a growth mindset and assertiveness. There has been incredible moments in my teaching career, but the growth in confidence is definitely one of the most special ones.
My experience supporting children to complete their homework
My tutoring sessions are often after school or during the weekend and parents have often asked me to help their child complete their homework. Firstly, I ask the parents and child, the method/strategy that has been taught at school so I can continue using the same method. This is important as a new strategy may confuse the student. Sometimes, this requires looking up the strategies on the school’s website e.g. at their newsletter, curriculum map or calculation policy to ensure teaching strategies are consistent.