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Secret TA: Super Stressed!

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Bite Marks: 2 

Stress Level: 8 

Holiday Countdown: 5 MILLION YEARS (in real life, 5 weeks to 🎄) 

What a horrible, painful and exhausting few days it has been.  Every now again the stars that govern educators in a school align; sometimes it’s for the good and it’s all cupcakes and rainbows.  This last few days, not only have the stars seemingly aligned in a way that makes everyone miserable, it seems that Lucifer himself has surfaced and placed a piece of his own dark soul into EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. in school. 

Monday started with a staff briefing that was basically a military dress down by the Headteacher.  I’m not good with confrontation, it puts me on edge and makes me feel really nervous.  What makes it worse is that I’m super emotional (if you’ve been reading these blogs, you’ll know I’m always crying) so all these nasty vibes were really getting under my skin.  I stared off into the distance awkwardly shuffling my feet and thinking, imagine if we treated the kids like this, there’s no way it would be okay! 

There’s a weird human phenomenon whereby the more people there are that observe an injustice correlates to the decrease in the likelihood of anyone speaking up against it.  Everyone was in a vile mood when heading to their respective classrooms. Obviously. 

I can’t go into too much detail because it’s really specific, but it was a lot of the usual stuff about deadlines being missed, work not being marked, plans not being updated etc.  I was walking to class with my Teacher. 

“That was a bit much for a Monday morning, no?” both of us were looking straight ahead and didn’t make eye contact.  I couldn’t even muster a response.  I was still going over the whole horrible scene in my head.  So much so that I hardly felt the little tug on my shirt.  I was still thinking about the dress down as I absentmindedly crossed towards the sink area to get the paints ready for the morning lesson. 

There was a slightly more forceful tug on the bottom of my shirt, this time I also felt an arm go around my knee.  I guess my reactions were slow – I was still thinking, how is that okay? about that awful briefing. 

I’m not excusing what happened next, but I should have spotted the warning signs.  CHOMP! 

It was that special place, the soft bit on the underside of the forearm that is always paler than everywhere else because it’s soft and unexposed.  I lost my nerve a little bit and moved the child over to a table, not fiercely but clinically – I didn’t say anything.   

After plonking the snapper turtle of a child on a seat, I went and got the paints.  As I was putting them on the table....  CHOMP! 

“ENOUGH” I raised my voice, which I have never done in class before.  I saw the Teacher's head snap over to me from across the room and we made eye contact for a split second before I looked back at the kid.   

Fear.  Those little eyes were not annoyed or angry, they were full of confusion as to what on earth was going on.  My heart broke there and then.  I felt guilty because I had clearly carried the negativity of that briefing into what should be the safest place on earth for a child. 

This little kid doesn’t speak, and for a couple of hours every day I am there purely to facilitate access to something.... ANYTHING.  Anything that is, but fear. 

“I’m sorry”, I took the seat next to the one that this downcast tiny human, “I should have paid attention to you, it’s not your fault.  You did nothing wrong” 

I tucked my finger under the little quivering chin and brought the face up so that we were making eye contact and said, “I’m here for you now”. 

A little hand reached over for the pack of ‘emotion cards’ that we carry around with us – I was fully expecting either sad or angry face. 

What I got was the card with the big red heart on it. 

I felt too guilty to cry.  I looked up to see my Teacher, who was watching all of this unfold, was ugly crying though. 

We have a meeting with the Head later in the week to discuss it as a team because whilst I did deserve them bites, I don’t deserve this stress.  And no learner should see their ‘person’ that out of sorts.  Ever. 

Next: Gossip Has Got Me Giddy!

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