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The child or class that changed your practice. Tell us about your experience.

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Toosh2013, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Toosh2013

    Toosh2013 New commenter

    I always find it very interesting to hear of moments in professional life that have resulted in a paradigm shift. Such moments offer great a opportunity for learning, particularly when they are shared with others.

    Please, share your stories - what happened, how did you react and in what way did your practice change?

    Both positive and negatives should be shared as we can learn from them both. Please be mindful to ensure the anonymity of any children/teachers/schools discussed.

    Whilst new to the teaching profession (I am a primary teacher) I have experience in front line statutory children and families social work. I worked very closely with a girl who at age 13 was attending school for only 1 hour per week and when there was hiding under desks and avoiding all adult contact. I was involved in her accommodation away from her birth family and over time built a very strong working relationship with her. I was fortunate to have access to extremely forward thinking educational psychological services and in particular worked closely with a senior member of the team. We managed to access nurture provision at a secondary school and despite numerous placement breakdowns we always fought to ensure that she remained at the same school.

    Whilst an extremely difficult child to work with at times given her chaotic upbringing she remained in school until her final year and even managed to access mainstream provision, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She was never excluded, never shouted at and as a consequence formed fantastic relationships with her key teachers and certain pupil within the department. Everything focussed upon nurturing an extremely fragile child who presented herself quite terribly on occasion. The mantra - 'we want to have you here, we love having you in the department' was repeated over and over again, particularly when she deserved it least. The more it was said, the more she believed it and consequently believed in herself.

    Whilst her living situation remained fluid throughout her teenage years her school provided security, stability and most importantly predictability. She was nurtured, cared for and made to feel worthwhile. From a frightened 13 year old emerged a fantastic teenager. Too often we read of children who are considered uneducable on account of their behaviour or attitude and sadly we hear little of the success stories.

    Whilst I have moved on in my career and she in her life, I often think about her and wonder how she is getting on. I am confident that she will be doing well but only because a group of adults stood by her, fought her corner and demonstrated to her the world was very different to the one she had experienced in her early years.

    In my practice I now keep a saying at the forefront of my mind, particularly when my class or certain children within it are having a hard day - 'Love me when I deserve it least, as that is when I need it most'. The easy option is to shout, scold, and blame the kids when things aren't going well. The harder option is to maintain a cool head and continue to nurture them, even when the voice in your head is telling you to throw in the towel and raise your voice.

    It takes time but perseverance pays off - a lesson that I was taught by a 13 year old child and some wonderfully patient educators who just wouldn't give up.
  2. Toosh2013

    Toosh2013 New commenter


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