Thursday, 22 January 2009

Know what I mean?

These kids, these kids, these kids.

Some of them have parents who care. Some of them have parents who don't care. Some of them don't have parents and live in care.

All of them are given individual attention and timetables, all of them have dedicated key workers, a system around them which won't let them fail like the other schools they've been to. All of them are given access to a place, perhaps the one place they have, where people don't tell them to sod off.

The Little School of Horrors gives them breakfast, a chance to get frustrations off their chest, fag breaks, and an education. Those who aren't academic can do construction, or beauty, or a driving course. All get a chance to do GCSEs or equivalents. One or two get a taxi home to ensure their attendance and safety.

All they have to do is turn up. Follow basic rules.

This week there were 4 exclusions and today alone I made 3 phone calls to parents about behaviour, and another 3 calls to chase those who didn't turn up. Given the amount of pupils the Little School has on a day to day basis, this is a lot.

The worst thing is when the parents lie on behalf of their children. Or worse still, when there is no way of contacting the parents at all. Phones permanently turned off. Phones disconnected. Voicemails unanswered.

My feelings switch from being angry at these 14, 15 and 16 yr olds for not realising how lucky they are to have this centre; to feeling sad because in some respects, they're really not that lucky at all. Angry again when they're hammering on walls, running about, shouting, not getting on with work. Feeling sad again when you call a parent and they're exasperated, worn down and in tears. Feeling happy when you can see a student's making an effort, or you have a conversation with one of them and realise in the short time you've been there, you've earnt a bit of their trust.

It's tiring, this admin lark.


Blonde said...

Eeeesh. Making a real difference to a damaged kid's life falls nowhere into what I do on a daily basis.

I have vast respect for you and your "admin" post.

Brennig said...

I want to be in the same class as the lab. :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Blonde - Ah mate, I just make the phone calls and write the letters. It's the teachers and youth workers who should get the vast respect.

Brennig - Charlie (lab 2) would be most upset at not being featured, but he wouldn't sit still for long enough to take a photo last night.

Blue soup said...

I agree with Blonde, your "admin" job is one part of a big machine trying to change the fortunes of kids who don't have much of a chance in life.

That said, I used to work in PR in the education sector and it was hard bloody work, emotionally draining. I don't miss it!

Anonymous said...

Some parents make me MAD!!!

Clarissa said...

Is you mom's ploy to get you into teaching going to work? It sounds like you are getting awfully close to caring! x, c


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