When I was told last June that I would be taking over the junior ASD class, I felt so nervous, simply because like many other teachers, I didn't feel confident enough, I hadn't completed many courses in ASD, I had never worked in this area before, and I was just overwhelmed. I always like to do my job well so I was in a complete tizzy at the thought of starting all over again, without that strong confidence I normally would have in teaching! Luckily, one of my best friends and former colleagues taught my class last year and she is the most incredible teacher. So we sat down together, went through the timetable, resources, everything. After that I felt much better. As I have since learned, I was silly to be panicking about courses etc. I have since done a good few and to be honest, besides the Introduction to Autism one, none of them were great! Simply because no two children are the same, no two classes are the same. You learn it all on the job, and you have to believe in yourself. I always follow my instinct when teaching and so far it hasn't let me down.
I teach the most wonderful six little boys and it has changed my outlook both as a teacher, a parent and a person in general! I feel like every teacher should work in an ASD class at some stage in their career. It is so different, yet the very same.
I like how I get to see progress in such a meaningful way , the excitement between me and the three SNAs in the class when we hit a milestone with a pupil- we have had such lovely moments where we just look at each other in surprise and delight over something! That is not to say we don't have tough days. We do of course. But so far for me, the good days have far outweighed the more difficult.
As I said on Facebook, I have applied for an NCSE visit. I am surprised at the reaction to this! Many people said I was crazy/brave to request one. I can't see why you wouldn't request one! It is completely free, professional advice. I won't lie, the thoughts of such an expert in ASD coming to watch us for the whole day does make me feel nervous but if I learn even one new thing to help a child in my class it'll be worth it.
I feel like the past few months have been the steepest learning curve for me since I started teaching. I have come home exhausted, elated, worried, proud, the list goes on. I feel like it has been a challenge for me, but if I do say so myself I am rising to it quite well. We had a retired principal of a special school /current inspector in my class for a student teacher and he loved our set up! He gave me personally great feedback on my teaching and relationship with the kids , which meant SO much. So that gave me great confidence.
My aim for 2020 for my class is to try get the individual work stations set up. We do work with them individually but we don't have the proper desks/work stations. If anyone has any advice on where to buy them let me know!
I hope all of you who started in an ASD class in September are settling in well at this stage.