I am a teacher of children, all children who attend my school.
I am a learner. I learn from children, all the children who attend my school.
I have taught and learned for 28 years in a range of mainstream primaries.
I am a better teacher, a better person for having learned from every child I have ever taught.
Every day is a challenge in its own right, in the right way. For me.
For the children I teach and learn from, for many it is a challenge in the wrong way.
None of us know what they go through at home before coming to school or after.
Do they get enough sleep?
Do they have a healthy diet?
Do they have a quiet space to do homework?
Do they get attention from their parents?
Do they get bullied by their siblings?
Are they playing out and getting into trouble?
Are they young carers?
Do they get themselves up and into school?
Do parents put unrealistic pressure on them to excel and compete?
Is there worse going on that we don’t know about?
Do their parents even know they exist at times at home?
Have their family had an argument with their friend’s family and they have been told not to speak to them?
The list of questions is endless.
After an incident one lunchtime, a colleague in the staffroom said, “He wouldn’t have spoken to a teacher like that, if he was mine!”. My reaction: “That’s the issue. He has not had the benefit of a safe and settled home life, with love and structure. He has seen domestic violence”.
Who are we to judge?
Walk a mile in their shoes…
School is often the only structure and routine in their lives. The only place where they have strict boundaries and they struggle against this sometimes. Being segregated would be another case of being let down. We need to understand the triggers behind the behaviours and put strategies in place to support the children, over time, to self identify the triggers and make the right choices in dealing with them.
The LA has removed the word behaviour from their matrix used to diagnose levels of need and expect the underlying issues to be identified when seeking support. This is a positive step, in my opinion, as it stops the labelling and encourages investigation, as Chris Chivers speaks about in this blog.
I am a teacher, learner and investigator.
So are all children I teach, learn and investigate alongside.