to wonder what on earth my friend thinks I do all day long?(26 Posts)
A friend has recently started volunteering with a charity for young people who have gone off the rails. She has been totally inspired by the work that they do.
I was listening to her talk today and she just kept saying 'they were never given a chance'. She actually used an example of someone with a history of violence being denied a job as anecdata!
I work with those kids ten years before they get to her charity... They are the ones who verbally abuse their teachers and classmates, who can often physically abuse and intimidate teachers and classmates, who have this mantra of 'you don't respect me' and who constantly disrupt learning.
I actually felt angry today- what does she actually think happens in schools?
I could agree with her if she meant that they were never given a chance because of their upbringing, but I don't think she does.
I read something - I think it was a blog post on here - which very earnestly explained how you could get through to every child in some way, and teachers must spend their time finding the exact way in which to get through to each and every child in their class so each child could achieve and feel comfortable at school.
Now, I am in no way criticising that idea. It's wonderful and positive and laudable. But given that I am paid to get a class of 28 children through a curriculum, I don't know exactly when I am supposed to find the time, in three lessons a week, to get to know each child on a deep, personal level so that I can relate to them and tailor my teaching appropriately. It's not possible, and I'm not being defeatist, you just can't nuture a close relationship with someone - who is by their nature non-cooperative and reluctant to engage - in that length of time.
I have worked with young people for 14 yrs. I would argue that the school system fits some but not all children and those who have issues are often failed by school and other services. There's a one size fits all attitude and we get young people age 16 unable to read or write.
It's not the teachers fault, it's the fault of systemic failure.
Why are you taking it personally and why do you assume she means teachers as opposed to their parents or home environments, as I would have assumed the latter?
People with terribly dysfunction behaviour most often have been let down in childhood.
I hear what you're saying, but different organisations/charities/professionals will come into contact with young people at different points in their lives, and will have a different agenda and a different approach than that of schools.
I've worked with young people in young offenders institutions. I'm sure many of the people in their lives - including their old teachers and obviously the victims of their crimes - would say they were little shits, but by the time I got to work with them, all I saw was a troubled child, usually with a disrupted childhood/ undiagnosed SEN/mental health difficulties/substance misuse issues or some combination of those things.
These kids were probably very difficult to teach, disruptive, disengaged. But there are always reasons for that - not excuses, but reasons - and to be honest, the average school environment doesn't suit every child, particularly the most high need ones.
Perhaps your friend is just being a bit evangelical because its all a bit of an eye opener for her? I wouldn't get your hackles up over it...
I think you are both on the same side and it's sad you can't see the difficulties/ challenges each other has
by the time I got to work with them, all I saw was a troubled child
I think this is what annoys me- do you think that I don't see a troubled child?
the average school environment doesn't suit every child
No- yet it feels like the average teacher is being blamed for not giving every child 'a chance'. Whatever that means.
I work with those kids ten years before they get to her charity
Yes, of course you can tell which children will get to your friends charity 😳
Teachers are amazing. The system is shocking.
Blimey, I do think you're taking this rather personally.
Why not discuss it with her?
I'm sure it's not about you.
I felt I was taking it too personally to discuss it rationally with her- does that make sense? It was easier to nod, smile and change the conversation.
Maybe her charity can come into your school and offer pastoral care? Or a youth club?
I was a troubled teen, albeit a silent one, non troublesome one, bowed down by dv and inability to do homework or function normally. Teachers were kind but in hindsight I needed proper help.
Ask her. Be honest with each other. It's not a competition.
I would have thought its blind go fly obvious that by and large they come from violent and dysfunctional backgrounds
How on earth do people think that one teacher (30 kids ) can counter that ????
The present system benefits nobody. It doesn't help the troubled/undiagnosed children, it doesn't empower or motivate staff and it doesn't support the quiet and compliant ones who want to learn. One size doesn't fit all. The system is broken. The system needs more money but I've no confidence it would be wisely spent. We moved our dd to the independent sector because we got sick of hearing excuses about disruption and behaviour.
Ive always believed vulnerable children become vunerable adults. Not through a lack of willingness to help always but through the fact there is no quick fix or one size fits all fix to everything.
A child in school is one of many. There is a culture of seeing the 'chair thrower' as a difficult child and the quiet withdrawn ones as easy. In fact they both likely have the same issues but the behaviours present differently.
Then there is the pressure on schools and teachers to show progress of all children. To keep records and show the vunerable students ,are as much progress. Then there is the reality is that is lack of funding and that teachers have to teach 30 students 5x a day. They don't have the time and resources to spend on each student individually. I wish that when schools can't meet a students needs they didn't feel under pressure to pretend they can. Then students would get better and earlier intervention. Instead the funding for students with an/Sen is decreasing. Therefore students aren't being given a 'chance'. It doesn't mean it's deliberate by the adults supporting/ working with them. It's a realism of the system.
Drained - thank you
And no, it's never blindingly obvious who needs help. Those who behave badly and disrupt yes, but what of the quiet ones, who never speak up and silently get through the day?
The ones terrified of being alone on a room with a well meaning male teacher who assumes you are difficult and can't begin to understand being shut in his room with him is a terror in itself? And will say anything to be out, even though the poor man means well?
Op, I get what you are saying - but then ask the charity for help. Why not?
You're assuming she meant they didn't get a chance at school. She could have meant at home, society, etc.
Why not tell her what you've said her? It would be a debate, not necessarily an argument.
I think plenty of kids are written off as lost causes. By their parents, schools, society, etc.
I think I get what you mean OP. She's new to this kind of thing, a bit naive and overly enthusiastic and is convinced that these problems are purely caused by 'not being given a chance'. She doesn't realise that many of them have been offered lots of chances and help but have turned those chances and offers down. I wouldn't worry about it too much OP. I suspect in 6 months time when she realises that a 'chance' is not a magic bullet, not always taken and despite her best efforts a lot of the young people she comes into contact with continue down a destructive path regardless and she might be a bit less bombastic about how other people have failed these young people.
Are you angry with your friend, or with a system which puts too much pressure on teachers to be all things to all children?
Its not a teachers role to deal with every aspect of a child's wellbeing, though.
So whether you've seen a troubled child or not, your role means you can only do so much - referrals etc. you're not a psych, social worker etc. I'm sure your friend realises that!
I agree with Bill, to an extent. Yes, a lot of children have been given many 'chances' - or rather, have had many interventions - that didn't work. For some children/young people, no intervention is ever going to work. Your friend will learn that over time, but to be honest, her evangelical positivity is a far better quality in a youth professional than a jaded 'seen it all before' approach.
Why take it personally? Most of my working time is spent with people who never had a chance. And yes in some cases there might be a teacher/school who really should have spoke up as the one authority figure, or in the present a teacher/school who is hugely failing in their duty, when I say 'never stood a chance' teachers aren't even on the periphery of my thoughts on who is to blame.
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