What Neil did for the love of individuality
A few years ago I moved from teaching year three to year five. Before making the move, I found out that within my class there was going to be a child who had really struggled throughout school and was consistently violent towards staff and other children. This particular child had real behavioural difficulties with a diagnosis of ADHD and ASD.
As a result, he had hardly spent any time in the classroom at all and relied on a one-to-one teaching assistant for support. I was told that the plan was to keep him in the classroom, but he wasn’t used to that, so we started the year with a part-time timetable. He spent the morning in the classroom and eventually we increased that time.
As we introduced more classroom time, I hardly saw any of the behaviours witnessed around the school, he actually seemed quite settled. I think what made that possible was that I was flexible for him. I allowed him to learn at his pace, and whilst my expectations were high of him, they were obviously different from the other children because of his needs.
Eventually, we got him to stop relying on the one-to-one TA, and he was allowed to be independent. He filled up books worth of work, which he had never done before. At the end of the year, our multi-academy trust hosts an awards ceremony and we are able to nominate pupils. I put this particular pupil forward for Most Improved Student of the Year. Now, this multi-academy trust is a large one, with schools all over the country, but much to my delight, he won.
“Being there to facilitate that learning for him, a child who has such high needs, and allowing him to develop and blossom, and be individual. I look back on that and smile.”
It was and continues to be the proudest moment I’ve had as a teacher. Being there to facilitate that learning for him, a child who has such high needs, and allowing him to develop and blossom, and be individual. I look back on that and smile and I think about that all the time. That’s my proudest moment as a teacher, that boy. I hope that he’s still doing well.