David’s request to write for him underpinned my decision to drop back to writing an article every two weeks rather than weekly. I’ve now submitted a proposal I was asked to submit to write a book on Education Data, and I’ve de- cided to change the approach to what I write here. Whilst I intend to complete my Seven Fallacies about Teaching project, and I’ll keep an eye on Ofsted Data Dashboards and any developments to RAISEonline, I’m going to step back from writing longer pieces here.
I’m planning to use Icing on the Cake for shorter, pithier observations and commentary which I want to share. This is the first of these new shorter blogs. Here goes.
I was given a note this week by one of the children in my school. It should go without saying that I’ve changed the names of the children.
You do everything for me and I mean it. You help me with everything. You are the kindest person ever. You sort me out when I am in a state. You help me and tell Isobel and Shanice to go away stop winding me up. When we play football you always pass me the ball. Thank you ever so much.
The child who gave this to me is fairly typical of many children with whom I work. She’s a bit spiky, a bit bouncy (my favourite term for children who keep you on your toes), and – very clearly – a complete softy underneath the streetwise bluster she usually presents to the world. And this kind of note is one of the many, many reasons why I love teaching in Primary. As I’ve said before, I love seeing children’s faces light up as they make sense of the world. But knowing that the complex lives of children like Chantelle are made simpler by the presence of calm, caring people like me is a hugely appealing aspect of what I do to.
Yes, we all want children to do well at school, and yes, there’s a huge amount to be said for having high expectations, and, yes, we shouldn’t accept excuses for bad behaviour – no matter who is behaving badly. But children like Chantelle need, first and foremost, adults who lead by example. And that’s what I try to do in school. It’s easy to patronise children. It’s much harder to earn their trust. Once you’ve got that, helping them to learn is much easier. I think I’ve got there with Chantelle.