On Monday I will be going to a secondary school for a 3 day placement and I am so nervous! It is going to be such an exciting yet challenging placement for me, and I am trying to convince myself that it will all be okay.
Personally I think the reason why I am worried is more to do with the fact that it doesn’t really seem that long ago since I was in high school myself, and so therefore I am worried that I will seem more like a pupil than a visiting member of staff there. This will probably not be the case at all and I am definitely looking forward to observing the Special Educational Needs department at the school, as this is the main focus of our placement.
At a personal level it is an interest of mine, as I feel strongly that EVERYONE has the right to learn and be educated, regardless of age, gender, race, abilities, religion etc. By this I don’t mean that everyone should learn the same things from a particular syllabus, and I certainly don’t mean that everyone should be expected to learn in the same way. I mean that everyone deserves to right to be able to learn something; whether that’s algebra, writing poems, learning to cook, developing social skills – anything. And that’s why it is important to have SEN departments in schools, so that children who maybe need a little extra support in place in order to help their learning can receive this and still receive as much time to learn as those children who are more able to do this independently.
I was shocked to find out in a lecture last week that it was only in 1970 that a law was passed which meant education was compulsory for all children regardless of their ability/disability. Up until then, children who weren’t particularly able to independently learn were not allowed to be educated. This is awful and I am so glad that this has changed. Having special educational needs is not a ‘bad’ thing, it simply means that extra support is needed; having the text enlarged on a worksheet could be considered as a special educational need, as in order for a child to be able to be educated, they need the text to be bigger. Therefore I feel that more people need to be aware of this so that the term ‘SEN’ is not seen as a negative label, but as a positive sign that ALL children are included in the education system, no matter what their needs are.
I will be very nervous on Monday morning when I am making my way to the school, but I will also be excited to see first-hand the support that is available for pupils within schools, and hopefully I will learn lots of new things that will help me as a student speech and language therapist. If any of you have any experiences of working in this area, feel free to post comments below- I would love to hear from you 🙂