I couldn’t stand it any more, drowning in the mainstream swimming against the tide all the time – it’s exhausting. I found myself spending more time looking at spreadsheets than kids, caring more about data than individuals. That’s not why I became a teacher. I am not the most suitable mainstream teacher around. I believe in education, learning, growth for each individual. I have a terrible tendency to like the kids I work with and to want them to be their best – not their most convenient, quiet and obliging, but vibrant, lively and engaged. I also believe that teaching is an act of giving, a very loving gesture not just a clinical procedure that can be weight,measured and codified.
So, I am going back to an SEBD setting, to work with those children that most teachers don’t want because they are inconvenient and do not look good on a spreadsheet. I’m going to work with all the kids who were the ‘apart from that one’ in the data trends. The ones that need to be loved before they can be taught.
I saw this picture on an animal rescue website, but really it applies to teaching vulnerable learners too.
These children are not born like this, they have been damaged by society – neglectful or abusive families, unrealistic social expectations, blinkered communities, judgemental educationalists or most like a combination of all of them. If I don’t reach out and love them, and teach them who will? It only takes one person to help someone break their cycle of self-destruction, privation and despair.
It’ s all based on the belief I have always held that children with SEBD may display unpleasant behaviours but they are ultimately still children. They live what they know, they speak how they’re spoken to,they push away because pulling people close means getting hurt. It is horrible. Imagine it. Other educational needs garner sympathy, even unintentionally patronising pity, but SEBD kids are looked on as a nuisance and embarrassment. They are people. We wouldn’t treat animals the way some of these children are treated by people who should know better.
Anyway, sermon over, I’m not trying to make myself sound like some kind of saint – I just feel strongly that these children need loving. You know what they say : Those that are hardest to love are the ones that need it the most.
So, if anyone wants me I’ll be over in the corner with the nutcase kids that make frog noises and throw things, because someone has to be there and at least I’ll smile at them when they turn up.