All of last week, I struggled to understand the thoughts and emotions going through my brain. His lordship might be leaving to go to a different school in the area. But then again, he might not be.
He’s looked around the new school. He’s attended an admission interview. But, apparently, according to his lordship, his mum has also heard that his next school, could be worse than ours! As far as I can tell, there was a meeting on Friday to discuss the situation and I’m not entirely sure whether he will leave this week, or whether it will be after Christmas. News has it, he is starting his new school this week, but probably not until Thursday, as he still has to continue with his provision at his alternative education site two mornings a week. But we’ll wait and see whether mum makes her mind up and sticks to it.
Apparently, the last 16 months of being his teacher, and bending over backwards for her son, more than I’ve ever done for any child that I’ve had the pleasure of teaching, has not been enough for her. He’ll probably leave before Christmas without so much as a thank you from her for everything I (we) have done for him. I started looking back at all of the things I do actually do for him, that isn’t in my job description or part of my jurisdiction as a classroom teacher. Some of the things, I would never do for any child, yet I appear to have done them, for him, in an effort to choose my battles wisely. I decided to write my own thank you letter from her to me/us.
Dear Miss, and other members of staff in school,
You’ve been my son’s teacher for over fifteen months now and although I haven’t always shown my appreciation, I need you to know that I am truly grateful to you, and the school, for going above and beyond expections to meet my son’s needs and provide a stable, consistent and fair education for him. You didn’t have to be his teacher for longer than is necessary but you have been anyway. I’m sure you thought he’d be easier to teach, having a familiar teacher in the room and I’m sorry it hasn’t turned out as you expected.
Thank you for giving up countless nights of sleep, especially after unexpected meltdowns or incidents in class. Before Ofsted inspections and general observations, wondering what he will do, how he will react when you say no to going on an iPad, because he hasn’t finished his work to a satisfactory standard. You are completely right, he will never understand what it is truly like to be tired in school, when you’ve spent most of your night trying not to have nightmares about what he might do tomorrow.
Thank you for repeatedly printing and laminating his behaviour charts, because in moments of anger about not getting what he wants, when he wants, he’s screwed it up or torn it up! – you will never imagine that a child could get so angry as to rip laminated paper, until you see it happen, twice! I’m sure those laminating sheets must cost the school a lot of money and it must take some time to wait for that laminator to warm up!
Thank you for consistently/stubbornly following through with the school’s behaviour system and quite often, following a completely whole new behaviour system, just for him, initiated by a member of SLT dealing with his behaviourwhilst you continue trying to teach the rest of the class. You’ve tried your best to provide a firm but fair classroom environment to try and help my son to settle down to tasks and understand that he should be treated equally to his peers.
Thank you for teaching the rest of the class whilst you’ve had four other members of SLT dotted around your classroom. I know it must be quite intimidating and unsettling to look around the room and see four other adults in your peripheral vision. But, you did a good job, trying to ignore them, even when a huge part of your brain was on high alert, filtering what you said, making sure you were speaking properly and still teaching a coherent lesson.
Thank you for writing and regularly adapting the four page provision map that you created for him. It clearly outlines all of the things you do for him, whilst he’s at school. You created a suitable workstation for him, to his own tastes, stapling his behaviour charts and useful aides for his learning to it, only for him to pull them off when he feels he needs to have them closer to him or just doesn’t want them where you have placed them.
Thank you for working alongside the kitchen staff to provide snacks for playtime and toast breaks in between lessons because he is constantly hungry. You’ve gone out of your way to provide school meals satisfactory to his desires and never failed to keep him well fed in school.
Thank you to you and other members of staff, for carrying his coat, book bag and other belongings for him, because he is too tired to carry them himself, but not too tired to pelt down the corridor to the office at 1pm.
Thank you for following him around school at lunchtime, whilst your lunch goes cold, to keep him safe and get him to calm down so he can eat his lunch and understand that it is not acceptable to run around school.
Thank you to the school for providing a 1:1 teaching assistant just for him, when he is at school, and for organising a reduced timetable for him, with alternative education at a specialist centre, (paid for by the school). Having somebody with him, when he runs riot and barricades himself at the pool or in the changing rooms, gives me peace of mind, knowing you are trying your hardest to keep him safe in school.
On countless occasions, members of staff have moved a calming down tent, outside his classroom, in an attempt to make it easier for him to calm down safely, before he returns to class and continues with his learning.
First aiders, in school, have provided first aid attention when he has intentionally hurt himself or accidentally bumped his head, when he hides under the table.
The list of things that you, and this wonderful school, have done for my son is beyond the call of duty. I commend you in your efforts to provide a safe and just education for my son and I am sorry he is leaving your amazing school.
This list of things we have done for him could be endless, but our greatest efforts have not been enough for her son. All of our hard work has not gotten her what she wants. An easier life. With a child like him, you’re not going to have an easy life and if you keep trying to find shortcuts and easier roads to follow, instead of realising that you need to make more effort to make your life easier, it’s never going to happen.
A part of me is ecstatic that he is leaving, I have party poppers ready to celebrate. I’m so tempted to write good riddance on his card instead of good luck, but that would be inappropriate. A part of me doesn’t believe that he’ll actually leave. This could all be a fun game for mum, where she gets my hopes up and watches my face with sheer delight as she pushes him through the school doors again on Thursday morning.
Could Christmas really be coming early for me? I blooming well hope so.