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Contacting an old pupil

(15 Posts)
Cheeseandapple Tue 11-Dec-18 22:32:44

I taught a boy in y5. He was very troubled, challenging behaviour, difficult home life, not many friends and a lot of staff found him very difficult to click with. I really enjoyed teaching him - once I figured him out 😖 - and he started to really settle by the end of the year. Much happier in general. He's now in year 7.

He has Jamaican heritage but really lacking in any significant successful black men and women in his life. I just listened to a podcast with an author I'd know he like. This author is a black American man and the podcast is 4 black Cambridge graduates.

Would it be inappropriate to:
A. Write to him at his new school with the name of the author.
B. Send him a copy of the book.
C. Include my email address as I'd love to hear how he's getting on.

I've been told different things by colleagues and friends.


OP’s posts: |
SilverApples Tue 11-Dec-18 22:36:20

No, don’t do it.
Email his form tutor at secondary and give them the recommendation as a suggestion for the year group, you can explain why to the tutor.
Are you a relatively new teacher?

MaisyPops Tue 11-Dec-18 22:37:53

I've always been advised that when a child leaves it's for them to contact staff if they wish to remain in touch.

Personally I wouldn't be seeking to pursue a relationship beyond the time a child is in my care. If they wish to remain in touch now and then then that's ok, but I wouldn't want to be still being that professional adult figure as it blurs boundaries.

I'm not saying you have any bad intentions by the way. I think sometimes there has to be a healthy detachment and boundaries. To me contacting a student years later (especiallh when they are still a minor) blurs those boundaries.

Sethis Tue 11-Dec-18 22:42:05

Would it be inappropriate to:
A. Write to him at his new school with the name of the author.
B. Send him a copy of the book.
C. Include my email address as I'd love to hear how he's getting on.


No unofficial contact with students outside of school. Flat. Otherwise you open up a huge, massive tin of worms that can be as "harmless" as other teachers thinking you're unprofessional, to the boys parents calling social services accusing you of stalking and grooming their child.

While it's very admirable that you want the best for him and for him to succeed, he's off your grid now. He's on someone else's. Trust that they'll do just as good a job of supporting him as you did.

Chickoletta Tue 11-Dec-18 22:43:25

Don’t do it!

AppleKatie Tue 11-Dec-18 22:45:18

I agree with everyone else I’m afraid it’s not appropriate. Forget and move on.

You have or will teach thousands of pupils you haven’t got the emotional energy to give this to all of them.

If they initiate contact as adults that’s one thing; before that it blurs a boundary and is unfair on you as well as them.

SilverApples Tue 11-Dec-18 22:47:56

Are you still on maternity leave, hormones all over the place and missing your class as teacher the same time as loving your baby?
I have memories of children from all sorts of abusive, neglectful homes and circumstances that still haunt me years later and I wonder what happened to them. But your impulse might be dangerous for you, as Sethis has pointed out.

Cheeseandapple Tue 11-Dec-18 22:49:50

Ah! Ok, that's crystal clear. Thanks for replying.

@SilverApples not a new teacher by any stretch, just a new conundrum for me.

OP’s posts: |
SinkGirl Tue 11-Dec-18 22:52:45

I think it’s lovely that you care so much - I was very close to a teacher at secondary school, we stayed in touch, I’m 36 and we still keep in touch, she came to my wedding.

However I do agree with the others - I can’t see any way of doing it where it would be safe, unless you pass it on via his current teacher if you know them

DeltaDelta Tue 11-Dec-18 23:01:52

How very sad that the world has come to this. This is something that would've greatly enhanced this boy's life and probably made him very happy but a few twisted people have made it a no go area. Shame!

PixieN Tue 11-Dec-18 23:09:24

I would still pass the book on. I think it’s a lovely gesture and could make a difference to this student’s life. You don’t have to write a note or give your contact details. As a pp said, you could pass it on to his current teacher.

gingerfreckles Tue 11-Dec-18 23:09:42

@Cheeseandapple sorry you have this conundrum of what to do. It's sad that it has to be like this. As an aside can I ask of the name of the book/author? It sounds very interesting and could be relevant reading for my DS. Thank you

Cheeseandapple Wed 12-Dec-18 06:15:21

@gingerfreckles the author is Jason Reynolds. He's got about 10 books published as far as I can gather. I'd never heard of him before but he's interesting to listen to. Heard him on the podcast Over the Bridge, which I'd also recommend listening to.

OP’s posts: |
Cheeseandapple Wed 12-Dec-18 06:16:19

I think I will try and find out who his tutor is and send it via them. Thanks again everyone.

OP’s posts: |
TropicalGiraffe Wed 19-Dec-18 14:46:18

Just read some of these and you'll see why we have to be so careful.

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