Well hello blog thing been a while I've been terribly busy you see. Moved house and changed jobs. The house move went as well as house moves go, no drama breakages or tears so happy to report the house move went well. Now in a happy, groovy house that gives good vibes and when all the crap has been thrown away will be a peaceful place to be.
The new job is, well, interesting to say the least. I am now working in a pupil referral unit, a school for kids who have either been let down or have chosen the wrong path, other schools have kicked them out so they come to us, ferral and unwilling.
It's a strange feeling, I found myself hankering for the old job, the comfort blanket of mainstream education, friends, pupils I knew, a curriculum I understood....boundaries and rules. To be honest I disliked my old job but day one at my new job made me wish I was back there, safe in the sameness of it all, the familiarity of it all, the easiness of it all.
My role is now very different, it's everything I love about alternative education but it scares me. My primary role is mentoring, caring and maintaining a relationship. The key word is engagement, I have to engage these young people enough for them to come back, it's a huge responsibilty which I should relish but it scares me. My teaching role is, well, very different, no monitoring as such, no assessment as such, it's all about engagement. I have dreamt of roles that provide these things, a groovy way to save the lost youth. 'lessons' or sessions as they are known are 3 hours long, the wisdom in that is slightly squiffy as many of the young people have attention difficulties and to sustain their engagement for 3 hours at a time is a massive task.
I have visited lost kids in their homes, a task that frankly I found quite harrowing. Mothers crying, mothers begging me to take their child away, mothers wanting their child to go to prison to give them a break...real life is no stranger to me, I worked for a building firm years ago, we were tasked with refurbing tower blocks in South East London...I have seen real life before but somehow this is different, somehow this has affected me more than I really expected.
I have so far been lucky, the young people I have met have trusted me and after some work away from the unit they have agreed to come in, take a risk and try education again. Why aren't you pleased I hear you cry? They trust me.....the only adult in years that they have decided to take a punt on, it's about our relationship now, not the schools or the parents its about me and them, if I fuck up, they fuck up and if they fuck they will probably end up in a young offenders institution, the kids I have met so far simply couldn't handle that.
It's exhilarating and horrifying...stories of self harm, suicide, abortions....fucking hell what has happened in the world that a young person has so much of a story at 15 years old.
So far my new role has scared the shit out of me, social work has always appealed but boy oh boy this is something else. I am in the process now, having met my mentees, of devising a scheme of work that is both educational and interesting so that they will come into the unit and want to study literacy, numeracy and ICT, they now trust me and I really really can't let them down.
I'm knackered, stressed and unsure this role is for me however my time with the lost youth is almost magical, they have amazing energy, sense of humour and above all else a will to learn turns out they are not as lost as I thought. End of week one and I had an indepth debrief because of a difficult visit, I was encouraged to own my feelings and trust my intuition...wanky yes but at least I am able to have some sort of contol over whether I own or am owned.
I leave you with one of my favourite quotes...'It's easier to build a child than it is to repair an adult'
Hope I don't let them down.....