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to not help this girl?

(25 Posts)
TheSeventhHorcrux Wed 17-Apr-13 19:06:09

I currently work in a college and one of the students has taken a shine to me and has started to join me for my breaks and lunchtimes.
I don't really mind, though would prefer it if she didn't because I like to spend them alone anti-social but do feel slightly pressured into it.

Yesterday the girl came rushing into my office, in tears, because she had so much coursework to do and by the sounds of it had just let it pile up on top of her. She claims she can't do any of it at home because it isn't a working environment and doesn't understand why the teachers can't give her one-on-one tutoring with her coursework.

I took her to a quiet place and tried to calm her down and talk her through some options and time management skills but she didn't seem interested and just kept changing the subject (to things that were happening, people walking by etc). She seemed to really struggle with focus which probably explained the build up of her workload. I don't think there are any huge issues here, just typical teenage angst stuff (which doesn't make it any easier for her, I know how horrible it is being 16!)

At the end of the day, she came to me again and asked me to drive her to the council so that she could apply for temporary living because she doesn't want to live with her mum and stepdad anymore (doesn't sound like they are overally supportive of her but I think it is more teenager vs parents). I declined, as I had to leave work straight away, and will continue to decline if she asks again because for safeguarding reasons I can't go with her anyway (college policy). But even if that was the case I wouldn't feel comfortable as I don't think she should move out, really don't know her that well and just don't think it is appropriate.

AIBU to not go further in helping this girl, past giving her advice?

RandomMess Wed 17-Apr-13 19:08:30

Isn't their some sort of student support at the college you can direct her to?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 17-Apr-13 19:08:36

Is there someone at the college you could discuss this with? Counsellor, pastoral care tutor?

Cherriesarelovely Wed 17-Apr-13 19:08:48

Doesn't your college have any pastoral care or counsellors?

TheSeventhHorcrux Wed 17-Apr-13 19:13:17

Yes there is - hat was part of my advice when she came to me but she just wasn't interested. Like I say, she kept interupting me.
I told her to go and speak to student support and her tutor and she just brushed it off confused

TheSeventhHorcrux Wed 17-Apr-13 19:13:39

*that not hat!

TigOldBitties Wed 17-Apr-13 19:17:36

I don't know what your role is within the college, but personally i would arrange a meeting with you and her and a member of the pastoral care. i would speak to the other person first and explain the situation so that they could make it clear to her that you can't offer her the help she is asking and that she should try to develop a relationship with the student support.

I think with teens, at times they're almost like toddlers and you have to do it for them. I'd imagine a support worker would be a lot more interested in her issues than you are (rightly so, its not your responsibility) and probably from just the attention alone she could equally take a shine to them.

TheSeventhHorcrux Wed 17-Apr-13 19:20:35

Tig - I'm going to do exactly that tomorrow, thank you!
It's not that I don't care, I'm concerned and she's a lovely girl, but in the eyes of the college I'm behaving inappropriately if I get close (quite rightly so!). I don't want to come off as cold!

RedHelenB Wed 17-Apr-13 19:20:52

As a member of staff at the college you have a duty to go & tell a member of the pastoral staff what has been said.

mrsjay Wed 17-Apr-13 19:23:15

You need to set up a meeting with the care staff at college een if you have to go along with her the girl sounds like a girl I know she latches on to people It is a shame really , hope you get it sorted but be quite difficult for you

mrsjay Wed 17-Apr-13 19:23:52

even* oh you are going too thats good

TheSeventhHorcrux Wed 17-Apr-13 19:24:47

I will go and report it to a member of staff tomorrow. I'll write it up now I think, I remember the "procedure" being taught in my safeguarding induction grin thanks for the reminder I am clearly a useless college staff member

TigOldBitties Wed 17-Apr-13 19:26:41

I think its for the best. Also gives you a sort of witness to whats going on so some protection for yourself. If you know the pastoral care team I would try and pick someone similar to you so you think they can build a relationship.

Even if the girl wants to spend time with you still, you can keep the support staff updated so they can provide her with relevant help and protection for you.

I know at my DS's college they have 'the annexe' where those who are looking for support can sort of hang out, theres computers and such. If you have somewhere similar, perhaps you could suggest to her that on X day you have to get some tasks done during your lunch break but she could spend time there as then its not like you're abandoning her.

mrsjay Wed 17-Apr-13 19:28:21

I always think it is best to report something like this to somebody else anyway it keeps you right and the girl can't say anything against you, I work with 'people' too and this is the kind of thing I would need to tell somebody else,

aldiwhore Wed 17-Apr-13 19:41:09

You're not useless at all, it's a difficult situation, and you can't always remember procedures as and when they come up, but remind yourself of them, seek advice yourself, because you have to protect both the student and yourself.

I would also make yourself less available at breaktime. That doesn't make you cold, but she needs support from the appropriate sources.

I have a lot of LOVELY students (though they're older so makes it a little different) and many of them I could quite happily be friends with, though I'm fond of them and friendly, there is and always be professional distance, and them joining me regularly on my break would be too close for comfort. (I don't mind ocassionally if theres no other seating for example)

You do sound lovely, so you NEED these procedures to help you.

bordellosboheme Wed 17-Apr-13 20:38:47

Perhaps there are deeper issues that she's building trust in you so she can confide. Can't you just show her compassion and humour her some lunchtimes..,.. But I agree about not driving her

TheSeventhHorcrux Wed 17-Apr-13 20:52:13

Can't you just show her compassion and humour her some lunchtimes

That's what I have been doing

PenelopePortrait Wed 17-Apr-13 21:01:52

I work in Student Support in an FE College. My view is that it is not your role to be humouring her some lunch times , this is not appropriate.

The advice given to referbher to Pastoral/Student Support is correct. Whilst it is not currently a safeguarding issue, she could well be building up to divulging something. Your student support team will be able to do some investigating with services prior to seeing her and your input will be useful for them to build up a picture of what is happening.

Her actions show that she is asking for help, because often students are unable to voice that request.

mrsjay Wed 17-Apr-13 21:03:08

she is sharing lunch with the girl she isn't heartless but she doesn't need to be involved with her problems and befriending her like the girls wants her too,

TigOldBitties Wed 17-Apr-13 21:11:46

I don't think it's wrong to lunch with her sometimes, I had an art teacher who did this for me and it really helped when I was very angsty.

I just think that you should discourage reliance on spending every lunch time with you.

mrsjay Wed 17-Apr-13 21:15:33

and tbh the girl could tel the op 'something' and make her promise not to tell and then TSH is putting herself and the girl in an awkward situation and then the girl wants to rely on her more because of the 'something' she told her

OkayHazel Wed 17-Apr-13 21:51:51

Refer her to the college pastoral staff. If there are not proper counsellors, the college will have in place a tutor system - the teacher is responsible for all issues - education or pastoral ones.

TheSeventhHorcrux Thu 18-Apr-13 11:19:55

I reported it to the safeguarding manger today and she was immediately sympathetic which made me feel much better. Apparently this student often "fixates" on a member of staff like this and has been known the elaborate (ie. tell lies) for attention. Other members of staff has told me about several over dramatic episodes that have resulted in violence on her part so I'm glad I learnt more about the situation early on. Her parents have been called in repeatedly and apparently are beyond supportive and both frequently call in to check up and see if there is anything they can do.

Penelope - I understand your comment about appropriateness but I think it would be more inappropriate to not allow her to sit with me at lunch. It's a communal area and I'm sure she would be incredibly offended if I were not to allow her to sit with me (I'm normally alone)

I'm going to keep a distance though so there are clear boundaries

mrsjay Thu 18-Apr-13 11:26:01

eeek TSH she sounds hard work bet you are relieved you reported it the parents must feel like they are banging their heads of a brick wall with her let her sit down if she wants eat your lunch then leave,

zipzap Thu 18-Apr-13 14:00:34

Might be an idea for the next few days to have other people with you at lunch time and be having a meeting over lunch or some such... Or letting her join you but with other students there too. So that you're not rejecting her to have lunch on your own but showing her that she can't expect you to be her exclusive lunch buddy.

It would probably be worth making sure that other members of staff are aware of the problem - so they don't get sucked in like you did, it's one thing to be nice and supportive on an occasional basis but if she is obviously having problems and issues latching on inappropriately to members of staff then it's much easier to know in advance what the girl is like and to make sure that you don't get into any situations you don't want to.

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