Compassion: A Cornerstone for Effective SEND Teaching

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • What compassion is.
  • Why it is important for SEND Teachers to be compassionate in the classroom.
  • How to show compassion in teaching.
  • Where the latest SEND teaching jobs are and how to apply for them.

When it comes to effective Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) teaching, educators are expected to be patient, organised and understanding. Having compassion and emotional intelligence is crucial for SEND Teachers and SEND Teaching Assistants to show that they care, understand and are interested in their students with SEND.

Being a compassionate SEND educator can be the key to having a positive impact on SEND students and ensuring their wellbeing, education and development are prioritised.

Throughout this blog, we’ll delve into what compassion is and how it is a cornerstone for effective SEND teaching.

What is compassion?

Compassion is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person or oneself. Being compassionate is not only the ability to put yourself in the other person’s place to understand how they’re feeling, but it is also the need or wanting to help that person.

Compassion is considered a valuable trait in many professions and a personal strength found to be most suitable and successful in careers including education, health and social care.

Compassion is a useful skill that SEND teaching staff can incorporate into the classroom to make them a better supporter and effective SEND Teacher.

Why is it important for SEND Teachers to be compassionate in the classroom?

SEND educators have a responsibility to protect the wellbeing of their students and need to be able to provide them with the best support available to suit their needs. A compassionate approach to teaching can help support students with SEND and provide them with the best possible outcome.

Qualities like compassion can benefit educators when they are talking to or helping SEND pupils with their mental health, wellbeing and education. When SEND Teachers are compassionate towards their students, it can have a positive impact on their understanding of the real world. 

In an interview with a SEND Teaching Assistant, she shared that “the best strategies to use depends on the individual and their needs and disabilities, however, it is crucial to be calm and compassionate.”

Acting with compassion has many benefits including being able to improve students' health, boost their wellbeing, and strengthen their relationships. If a parent understands and appreciates that you have their child's best interests in mind, the relationship between teacher and parent/guardian will be much stronger. 

How do you show compassion in teaching?

  • Be empathetic.
  • Give praise and credit.
  • Demonstrate understanding.
  • Provide emotional support.
  • Be respectful 

Be empathetic

Like compassion, empathy is instrumental in showing students with SEND that you care, sympathise and understand. It is also an important quality for SEND Teachers and SEND Teaching Assistants to adopt in order to develop a better relationship with students and to better guide your teaching.

Being empathetic allows SEND educators to see the world through the eyes of the child or young person with SEND. Without being judgemental and with genuine compassion, teaching staff can communicate teaching practices that are better suited to SEND students.

Give praise and credit

One of the simplest ways to demonstrate compassion and show your students that you care is to tell them often. Communicating with students is crucial and giving them genuine praise and attention is a key way to show them compassion. 

Praise can enhance self efficacy and improve self esteem so that students can create a bond with educators and establish trusting relationships.

Genuine praise, approval and compassion is an effective SEND teaching method that can help students with their academic progress and show them that you care. 


Demonstrate understanding

In order to show compassion, SEND educators need to make an effort to understand their students' needs and the type of support they want. Everyone is different and requires different support regardless of their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Whether it be struggles with communication, interaction or learning, or social, emotional and mental health difficulties, there are different levels of understanding and acknowledgement.

A compassionate SEND educator can alleviate student’s suffering or provide support and guidance in times of need. Sometimes, students aren’t necessarily expecting solutions and advice, but someone to listen and understand.

Feeling heard or seen by someone who cares is extremely important for SEND students; educators who seek a full picture can gain better understanding of situations and ensure preferable outcomes.

Provide emotional support

Being compassionate means being intuitive on an emotional level and providing emotional support to children and young people with SEND.

SEND students are prone to emotional distress and have complex social, emotional and mental health needs. They may find it difficult to express and control their emotions or tell others how they feel. This makes it crucial for SEND Teachers and SEND Teaching Assistants to communicate with students and convey compassion.

Sharing things about yourself shows that you care and want students to open up and feel they can discuss things with you. Asking questions and providing a safe and comfortable space for students to express their emotions, thoughts and feelings is an effective teaching strategy used by SEND educators.

Be respectful

Foster a welcoming environment by encouraging all students and staff to show compassion and respect to all. Students are more likely to act on feelings of compassion if they receive the same level of respect and empathy in return. 

Teaching students about the importance of creating a network of support and being compassionate towards others is an excellent way to ensure the teaching environment is respectful and effective.

SEND Teacher jobs

If you’re searching for your next SEND Teacher job, why not take a look at the latest teaching vacancies, or simply upload your CV to be notified when a relevant position becomes available.

Discover how teachers can be an ally, advocate and champion for children with SEND in this interview and also advice on what makes a good SEND Teaching Assistant?

Recruit SEND Teachers

As a specialist SEND recruitment agency, we support mainstream and SEND schools with their temporary, permanent and temp-perm staffing needs. 

We currently work with hundreds of schools and have exclusive access to some of the best SEND Teachers and SEND Teaching Assistants in the North West.

If you’re struggling to fill a teaching vacancy, why not get in touch with one of our team to see how we can help?

Meet Jamie Heath

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Established in 2017, we’re a vibrant and progressive recruitment agency based in the heart of the North West. 

We continually reimagine the recruitment process to challenge convention and defy expectations; from creating a better recruitment experience to remodelling employee engagement, we thrive off doing things differently and turning heads along the way. 

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

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