The reason I am starting this blog today is in actual fact due to an email I received this morning (and no, it is not relating to Mr. Gove’s departure, the timing is purely co-incidental). It really struck a chord with me and I realised that I did not have the appropriate forum in which to share it. The story inspired me in many ways and reminded me of many pupils I have worked with. It may inspire others the same as it did me or in different ways but I don’t think that matters… This is what I wanted to share (all names blanked out & permissions gained to publish):
Sent: 14 July 2014 16:59
Subject: All teachers of ******, please read
If you teach ******, I just thought I’d share some of his skills with you. I mentor ****; I know he can be a difficult and distracted student at times and therefore it’s easy to forget how engaged and grown up he can be. He’s just one of those kids who, if modern education allowed it, would be doing practical stuff all day, working with his hands, preferably outdoors.
Pictures taken at The ‘Cherry Wood Project’ near Bath last week show him 1. Catching grasshoppers; 2. On the pedal-lathe. ***** has attended a course there over the last few months learning to concentrate on skills and focusing on practical goals. He loved it and the staff there think the world of him – “He is our best student; really talented, grown up and focused,” said one of the staff, for instance. He’s incredibly skilled on the lathe, at green-woodworking, at music (guitar and drums) and bike mechanics, all skills that are easily forgotten outside of specific lessons.
So this really is just a friendly reminder that he has great talents, and, when encouraged and engaged in practical projects and tasks, he can excel. Please give him this chance by acknowledging his successes and offering practical tasks where appropriate.