I’m SEN – The Diary of a Low Achiever!
The following blog is a fictitious account and bears no resemblance to any person(s) living or dead. The idea for this blog came from the experiences and interactions I have had over the past 27 years working with both children and adults with Special Educational Needs Disabilities (SEND). I have worked in a variety of settings including: schools, youths groups, deaf clubs and prison (in a teaching capacity may I add)
I write with Pencil
Not in pen
Nor do them
I wonder if they’re SEN?
A Day in the Life of a Special Needs Kid
Hi My name is … well it doesn’t really matter what my name is does it? I’m simply known as the Special Needs Kid, or Level 3, Under Achiever; Slow Mover, Reluctant this… Reluctant that, I even overheard someone calling me a bottom feeder once! Sad, I know!
My dad is (or was last time I saw him) a haulage contractor. He didn’t do very well at school and he told me he was taught by nuns who used to hit him with a ruler because he wrote with his left hand. It’s fair to say that neither of us really like school.
I’m in Mrs Holsgroves’s class 4F, all the groups in school have names – our class are all animals (the groups I mean not the children) I’m surrounded by pandas, giraffes, zebras, koalas and gazelles! I’m in the – wait for it – The Tigers. We’re the group that struggle and need more ‘help’ – Miss thinks that if she calls our group after the strongest and bravest animal, that’ll fool all the others kids into believing that there’s nothing wrong with us.
My group consists of Ryan B, Joe, Ebi (he’s Polish) Sophia, Ahmed (he’s known as SEN and EAL (whatever that means) – I saw it once on a list that Mrs Holsgrove had in her SEN folder, finally there’s me, Joseph Jeremiah Knight everyone calls me JJ. All of us Tigers live on the same housing estate Lime Grove. Apart from Ryan B, we are all living with a single parent.
Mrs Holsgrove gives us different coloured paper to everyone else, Gary Cooke says it’s ’cause we’re thick we have to have ‘Special’ paper. Mrs Zainab our Teaching Assistant says it’s because it’s ‘Dyslexia Friendly’ whatever that means! We get called lots of names when the teacher can’t hear. I’m not thick I just can’t work out my spellings very quickly that’s all.
Last Christmas during our school play I was tidying the class with Catherine Pike, she’s dead clever – top group – Panda.
Mr. Lees the Y6 teacher came in and asked Catherine to look for a cloak that was needed for the school play, she looked everywhere but she couldn’t find it. He then asked me – I was really happy but before I could do anything she looked at Sir whilst pointing at me and she said:
“If I cant find it, he wont!”
Great I thought – now I’m even in the bottom group for looking and finding things !
I’m not in the play this year as I was getting fed up – I love acting and singing but because I find it difficult to read the words as fast as the others I don’t get the parts I like. Two years ago I was ‘Seaweed!’ in Under the Sea. The only bit I get to say is:
“Welcome everyone to our school assembly!”
I’m always taken out of lessons to work with Mrs Zainab and the children from the class below. I don’t like it very much as I get embarrassed because the kids from the class below laugh at me. I miss out on all the good stuff that my class are doing and I miss out big chunks of the learning because I’m out of class when the teacher gives the introduction and I find it hard to catch up. Plus Gary Cooke trips me up and calls me ‘Thicko’ when I stand up to go the ‘Rainbow Room’ with Mrs Zainab. I hate spellings, phonics, handwriting lesson they bore me.
I wish I was up the yard with my dad stripping down a Volvo. I can’t spell but I can weld. Perhaps one day they’ll have a SATs Paper on Metal Fabrication! I could talk about heating steel or burning, cutting and bending angle iron. I could tell them that they could use Propane Gas to burn metal but using an Acetylene torch is much easier.
I wonder if they know that to get great results from welding you should use a mig welder with Argon Gas and a constant wire feed. I wonder if next year they’ll have a comprehension paper on ‘Welding Aluminium?’ I’d be able to tell them to make sure that the surface of the metal is spotlessly clean before you start, as any dust particles could cause impurities in the weld.
Anyway I better stop moaning as Mrs Zainab has just walked in and I’m off for my fifteen minutes of Toe by Toe – guess where? Yeah – The Rainbow Room!
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In the best schools children like JJ thrive! The School celebrate the uniqueness of each child and sees them for what they can do rather than what they can’t”