Things are slowly getting back to normal. This morning was spent trying to catch up on paperwork, talking to staff about various issues and an interim review meeting with the local authority about the placement of a child with a statement. All ordinary and comforting in their ordinariness. As I stepped out of my office the children were coming up for assembly. One of the teachers told me that a child in her class was taunting the new child in her class, and his class mate who had befriended him. I called the child aside and talked to her about what she had done.
Her behaviour has improved incredibly since she has been here and now incidents like this are very unusual. I suspected she was ‘showing off’ or ‘throwing her weight around’ in front of the new child. There is a distinct pecking order out on the estate and this is mirrored in class and across the school. A new child in a class upsets the balance and there is a period of muscle-flexing and showing off until the new order is established. She seemed to respond to what I was saying and we left it at that and she went back to join her class before assembly started. The fact that she sat and listened and owned up was a major step forward and I was proud of her for that as I know just how difficult that has been for her in the past.
There are some moments in my job that are incredible. Sometimes, a child really opens up and talks to me. There is a very special child who I always look out for. He has had terrible things happen in his life and considering these things, he has coped remarkably well. His parents are very supportive but they have had their own issues in the past including the death of a baby.
I was talking to three boys about some silly behaviour, two of them went back to class to get on with their learning but I sensed that this child wasn’t ready. His ‘silly’ behaviour was hiding something. We sat and chatted for a while. He talked about his mum and how she had had a hard time at school, and had been beaten at home. He told me he feels that his mum and dad think he is rubbish. (I know that they don’t.) He says he feels he is rubbish. He then told me that he thought it was really unfair that one of the children in his class had a 1:1 support person and he didn’t. Despite the fact that he gets lots of extra help, his perception of the support he gets is very interesting. He doesn’t have this 1:1 and he is very envious. He just wants to be special to someone.
I listened to him for a while and then asked him what help he thought he needed. He was very perceptive. He asked if he could have 1:1 support for his maths. ‘I can’t understand it when it is at the front of the class, I need someone to explain it to me next to me’ he said. Although his class teacher is excellent at matching the learning to his needs, and I have seen from his books, what was important was his perception that he wasn’t getting enough support. It is special to me that he was able to tell me how he felt. I told him I would see what I could do…