6 May 2014

Lifestyle - Work and Learning

I have finally started my voluntary job at Archbishop Sentamu academy in Hull and I'm loving it. It's so nice to feel like I'm actually doing something useful with my time.

Work ready!
I've been with both the year 8 and 7 nurture groups which are classes where the students need extra support than a mainstream class. This involves both some challenging behaviours as well as some vulnerable students. 

I was forewarned that I might be exposed to everything possible within the course of my days with these students, and they weren't kidding! Day one with the year 8s which involved a lot of belligerence and noise was a walk in the park compared to day two with the year 7s. 

But, I loved it. I felt like I actually helped some of the students to perform much better than they may have otherwise and it was nice to have them come to me for help when they needed it. 

I think I did use the phrase "can you be quiet, please" more in one hour than I have ever thought would be necessary, but these are kids who exemplify the acting out when bored mould. They also can't sit still and wandered around the classroom all the time!

What worries me is that some of these behaviours are exactly the same as madam's and I am now having visions of her being in a class like that when she's older! Some of the students in there were quite obviously very intelligent, one of the year 8s in particular really sticks out in my mind, but so incapable of self control... 

So my mummy brain has kicked into overdrive and I'm now plotting ways in which I can help madam to fit into the box they expect her to, without squishing her personality. I may be on an uphill battle here, school has already taken note of her inabilities. I don't want her put in the naughty kid box, because she is not and she is capable of so much. She just is not a typical sitting at a desk learner. 

Having done some work on learning styles I'm beginning to draw the conclusion my child learns better when she is moving. She HAS to be able to stand up and dance when watching anything, she still puts everything in her mouth to discover it fully. She can sit at a task if it really engages her, for example she's really good at drawing, but she needs a period of doing something afterwards before she can move on to the next task. 

Schools are not set up like that though. They put everyone in the auditory learner box, which works very well for me, but is definitely not for everyone. Hands up all the people who use video tutorials on YouTube all the time. They quite often confuse me... I like written instructions, not picture instructions (IKEA, I'm looking at you!) but real words. Or you can read something to me and I will follow that happily.

Madam can't really do either, partly because the kid is 5, but because she needs to take part to learn. How will school be able to help her? (Did I mention I'm in panicky mummy mode.)

I'm hoping as she ages and matures she may learn to process things in her own way so that she can fully participate at school. Next year when she goes into a proper sitting in front of a desk style learning environment is going to be a struggle, I can tell.

Do you think it's worth me speaking to the teacher about this? Surely if I as someone with very little knowledge of teaching know about learning styles, she must. Then maybe we could develop a technique to help her. 

OK, need to stop myself before I go into full on anxiety mode. She is 5, she is doing OK. She has all the advantages of a good school and loving family to help her. She's going to get through. And school is only a short time of her life to get past. 

Let's look to the good things. Madam is starting athletics after school tomorrow so hopefully she can burn off some of that abundant energy she is blessed with. And Rainbows is on Thursdays. First week was last week and it went really well (hence the silly picture!) 

She is now keen for me to get her the full uniform. She'll have to wait a couple of weeks, I think!  

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