#2 magical teaching moment
It has been an extremely busy couple of weeks in Shanghai, both personally and professionally…
On a personal note, my mum, dad and sister came to town to celebrate my mum’s 60th and my engagement to Jade! They came for 10 action packed days that coincided with Chinese New Year and that took us to Nanjing, saw us do a few nights in Puxi by the Bund and a few at our flat in Kangqiao. It was awesome but very tiring!
Professionally, we have been informed of an impending inspection by our owners, Nord Anglia. Inspections are never fun and can cause a lot of stress for many teachers, my team seem positive but there is definitely an element of “Great! More work” in the air.
More on that another time, the above are just excuses for not blogging about my magical teaching moment, Goal no. 2, until now!
Anyway, I have been thinking about my magical moment for some time and I keep coming back to something that happened before I was actually teaching. After traveling for a year, I mentored in a community college in Leicester before going on to teach there following my PGCE. I was hired as the inclusion mentor and focused on keeping the most ‘challenged’ students in school. It was a particularly tough school, so the challenged kids were, at times, totally ‘off the wall’. I worked with lots of great students who just needed a chance, and some completely bonkers kids, too! It was great fun but exhausting.
The moment in mind came a few years later than when the work was put in. A year 10 girl was school phobic and regularly skipped classes, ran out of school and generally did anything to avoid or disrupt learning. She wasn’t a bad kid but completely hated the school, her teachers and most of the other kids. I worked with her on her self-esteem and anger issues. I felt we made ground in my time working with her, she started turning up for school most days.
The following year, I left to do my PGCE and returned to the school on placement and was subsequently offered a teaching post for the following year. The girl had left by then without any GCSEs. I taught business studies and my prior career was in recruitment so I found myself involved with the careers team. I ended up running classes for the year 11’s on creating CV’s, letter writing, interview techniques and helped write some college applications and actual job applications. A younger relative of the girl was still at the school and she asked if I’d help the older girl again. She needed assistance with a job application. She actually came along to some of the after school sessions and I helped her apply for her first ever job. She had never dared apply to anything before and felt she had no chance because of her lack of qualifications.
A few years later, I received a Facebook message from the girl and it was amazing. I never added students to Facebook, and she knew that but basically it just said that she wanted to thank me personally for all my help over the years. It turned out that she got the job which I’d helped her with. It was with a high street retailer, and in her email, she said it was all down to me. She was extremely grateful and said that my mentoring had kept her in school and out of trouble and then later, that my time spent coaching her had got her the job that she still had to that day.
It was a great feeling and although it had been tough at times, it suddenly felt more than worth my efforts. I felt great that my input had actually made a difference to her. At that school, it often felt that we were banging our heads against the wall but that success was truly magical and helped inspire me to keep going, even when it didn’t feel like progress was being made.