Schools CRT looking for work? Try an SDS

  • By Jon Ferguson
  • This article was published more than 4 years ago.
  • 2 Aug 2019
Working in a special development school can be fun and rewarding.

CRT interactions with students may be brief but can have a huge impact. One such group of students for whom this is true are children with special or complex needs – both intellectual and physical.

Though most CRTs will have worked with special or complex needs students within a mainstream classroom, many may not have worked at a Special Development School (SDS) where all the students have a significant level of need. This may be due to uncertainty about what might be expected at an SDS, lack of experience in that setting, and lack of training in working with special or complex needs students.

For this reason, it is often difficult for SDSs to get the help they need when regular staff take leave.

I recently spoke to Janet Taylor, principal of Yarra Ranges Special Development School, about what CRTs should know about working in a special development setting. Janet’s experience working in a SDS started many years ago as a volunteer and as a CRT. At the time, she had no experience working with students with complex needs, so she understands the hesitation some teachers may have about working in that environment.

Here is her advice for CRTs looking to work in an SDS:

SDSs obtain CRTs in various ways – some have their own CRT pool such as former volunteers and teacher placement, while others use an agency that provides strong professional support for CRTs who work in SDSs.

Volunteering or shadowing a teacher at an SDS or attending the school’s induction session to meet the staff and get a feel for the school’s environment, educational approach and philosophy will allow you to see if working in an SDS is a good fit for you.

Your attitude, approach to the work and how you fit in with the school is just as important as whether you have direct experience with or training in working with students with special or complex needs.

You will not be left alone. The very nature of the work and the complex needs of the students means that teamwork in the classroom is the norm. So, even if you are only coming in for a day or two, you will have plenty of support.

Janet says some of the best teachers she has at Yarra Ranges SDS were CRTs who had little or no direct experience with special or complex needs students. She encourages all CRTs to consider taking up work in this rewarding setting.

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