Today was the first day back after half term. It began with the usual crises that we are faced with after a holiday – lesbian single mum facing abuse from neighbours, police involvement etc. My Pupil and Family Support Worker gave her a cup of tea and helped her write letters to the appropriate people. Unsurprisingly this is all having an adverse effect on her son.
This was followed by having to send a member of staff home as they had just been sick, followed by meeting with Children’s Social Care to discuss a particular child. During the meeting I was called to said child who was rampaging up the corridor. Child was calmed and returned to his class – eventually – and meeting resumed.
In amongst all this I had visited all the classes to welcome them back and in all the classes, except one, I was greeted with a vision of children fully engaged in their learning and calm staff.
This one class has a new child. She is being reintegrated from the local PRU. She is being reintegrated into my most challenging class. 3 BEH statements, 3 children at CP, and one LAC. There are only 20 children in the class. The new child (who is also LAC and who is in the process of getting a statement for EBD) was very well behaved and settled quickly. The other children in the class didn’t. There is such a fragile equilibrium that any change throws them completely. Much of this was posturing by the dominant boys to ensure that they weren’t toppled from their positions of power and remained a high priority in their teacher’s mind. Some were unable to manage the structure of school after a week of chaos at home, particularly with a new face in the room. The class teacher managed the competing demands well by having an impromptu circle time which gathered the children together, both figuratively and literally and enabled them to resume their learning.
On my way back down the corridor I was faced with a cheeky, petulant grin- one that I have come to know VERY well indeed. I scooped him up and asked what was up. He had been told off and was sulking – ‘where are your shoes?’ I asked him. He pointed to the classroom. They were in shreds. Sole had come off completely. I took him up to the office where they sorted him some temporary footwear. He is the second eldest of five children. His older sibling is at the EBD school full time.
I spend my lunchtimes in our ‘support’ class so that their teacher can have a break. Today they were a lively bunch. I sat with one of them and asked him about his half term. He told me proudly that he had mastered the front flip on a friend’s trampoline. It was lovely to see him smile. He has little else to smile about. He has an amazing capacity for empathy and understanding literature, of being excited and curious about the world. Such potential. Such other stuff in his life that only occasionally does he let you see this. This one really breaks my heart. He is moving to another local school in September and this, although I know it is the best place for him in the long term, makes me feel like I have failed him because I couldn’t make it better.