Today was day 5 of the SENCo Accreditation Course. I was going back to being a student and being expected to learn.
I felt like one of the children – I hadn’t done all of the homework that was set at the end of the last day a month ago. Like them I had a 101 excuses, I was really busy, the cat was sick, my computer crashed … whatever the excuse – not all of the work was done. Not that it mattered, the important bits (well most of them) were. I am an adult, they weren’t really interested in my excuses, actually they didn’t ask. When I met with my tutor I just said that I had written 2 out of the 3 essays he said that was fine, I knew when the submission date was and send him the draft when I’d done it.
I sat in a really hot room, the radiator was on and the sun shone threw the window. The grassy slope just out of the window led down to the lake, sparkling in the sun. The swans paddled around enjoying the spring warmth. We were obviously not at all distracted by our environment nor the fact for three of us it was our birthday!
The first lecturer started speaking. I took notes. It was 8 hours ago. It was about the DISS report and using TAs effectively – I can’t honestly remember much more. I know that we had a birthday tea at 10:30 with scones, jam and clotted cream. We then had a nice lady talk to us about a variety of interventions followed by a super lunch. Why can I remember all of the details of the food that I ate but not about the content of the lectures that I went there for? The afternoon followed a similar pattern with a talk on mental health problems in school and how to submit the assignments (when we’ve finished writing them all).
It did make me think that although I was being a student for the day, I am an adult. I have to do this course, it is related to my job, a job I love. My home situation is fine. I still did not give the course 100% attention. How must it be for some of our children?
We are nowhere near so lenient on the incomplete home learning of our students. We make the classroom a comfortable temperature for us. We teach things that they may not always see as relevant. Their home life may be a little tricky. They may have some of the mental health problems that we were learning about. It may even be their birthday! I suppose one difference was that I was taking notes, I did not swing on my chair, I did not shout out, I was paying enough attention that I could ask questions, answer questions and join in a discussion, I did not run out of the room, I did not deny anyone else the right to an education.
Being a student in these circumstances does help you empathise with some of the children and why they may not be concentrating fully. I do think though that it may be a case of do as I say and not as I do. Next time, I will do better!