Pandora’s Box is open …
When I started teaching, the idea of pastoral support was fairly basic. A supportive word or gesture if called upon, perhaps a phone call home to check ‘all was alright’ if a student appeared disengaged when previously otherwise but on the whole there were only about 5% of students in my care who needed that bit extra at any one time. There have, of course, been bereavements that are always horrendous to deal with but I am comforted by the fact that I was there, hopefully in some small way, to help the student to begin to emerge from the horror bruised but not beaten. Fast forward 15 years and everything has changed. Lots for the better, some perhaps less so. Child protection and safeguarding training is far more effective and useful than ever. I am constantly vigilant whenever confronted by changes in appearance or personality, recording of incidents in a clinical and organised way allows for co-ordinated thinking within school and agencies beyond our doors. Children are safer now more than ever despite the fact that they seem to be becoming crueller on line at least. Schools are safer and more attentive places than they have ever been and the staff are at the forefront of that caring.
The negatives are less easy to quantify. Children appear to be less resilient in some cases; by openly discussing anxiety, eating disorders, body image, consent etc., some students seemingly magnify perfectly natural anxieties concerning life events or exams etc into spirals of negativity and crippling anxiousness. Every minor issue seems to charge towards agency intervention. These are not common but when they do appear they are hugely painful for all concerned. The current generation is, in more and more cases, losing its perspective and we are reacting using protocols designed to protect all which is, of course, the only correct course of action but occasionally I just think that being told to suck it up and get on with your life may be a far more valuable service to offer… and sometimes, judiciously, I do just that!
This week I have been diving deep into the vaults and youtube. Firstly the reliably wonderful Pete Bruntnell, then a gorgeous Sparklehorse cover by The Delines ( who have annoyed me by rescheduling their dates from a Friday to a Wednesday!!! but the beauty of this track and the new single forgive them for any sins) and lastly Gibby and the boys. Class. As ever take what you want or need.