The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.

This coming week is the week in which we wave goodbye to the Year 11s.  They’re mostly all sixteen now, and their formal academic education is almost over.  Some will return to take GCSEs in English Language and Maths, but many will never be seen again, except perhaps as a news item, or a misplaced rumour. 

I like to think that their two years at the centre [for some it’s less, it depends on when they get kicked out of mainstream school] have been beneficial in many ways.  They’ve received the attention they’ve craved; formed successful relationships with adults in authority; worked in small classes, or one-to-one, to work towards fulfilling a potential that should have been fulfilled many moons ago.  They’ve loved, lost, conquered, fought, watched Romeo & Juliet, been on team-building exercises, matured … they’ve enjoyed many things that kids who remain in mainstream education miss out on. 

Narcissistic Boy has learnt that he can be friends with people his own age, and that they don’t care when he comes out of the closet.  He’s been accepted.  And he’ll build on that for his entire adult life.  Pink Girl found the courage to dump her abusive boyfriend – and his mother – and return home to a mother who loves her.  Tart With A Heart doesn’t need to have a joint every morning before school anymore.  Although TomBoyNitGirl still lives with her abusive alcoholic father, she has rid herself of nits and discovered that her passion [oh-my-god-you-play-so-well] for playing the guitar can land her a place on a course in a college where no-one knows her name – a place where she can start afresh without the last ten years of school praying on her mind.  Camp Kid doesn’t run around the corridors screaming his head off when he doesn’t get his own way, and The Boy With The Heroin Addicted Mother is actually likely to get a good grade at GCSE English. 

You can keep your Must Get 10 A*s at GCSE So That I Can Go On And Achieve Five A Grades At A’Level And Go To Uni kids.  I much prefer the Forgotten Kids.  There are Forgotten Kids everywhere.  They get neglected and ignored, swept under the carpet, left to fend for themselves.  The lucky ones get taken out of mainstream and come to a place like ours which is more fitting for their needs.  It’s just a shame that the unlucky ones have to stay where they are.

I’ve spent the last two academic years working with the twenty-plus students who are leaving us next Friday.  Incidentally, two years is the longest I’ve ever worked anywhere. 

Oh, and I dyed my hair Midnight Blue.  Most of the bathroom is now Midnight Blue too.  Yes, it’s just a trendy name for Black.  And yes, I feel like a goth.  Again.  But it does look rather fandangly when cascading down my shoulders and onto my red top. 

please God give me the wisdom to choose whether or not it is right to watch Lost tonight instead of Tuesday xxx Elsabeth


  1. I still don’t understand this *must achieve highest grades and disappear off to the student union bar for three years* theory. I’ve got a lower-sixth lad who’s turned to me for advice on whether to go to uni or not – I feel rather sorry for them these days…Midnight blue….. I am tempted to re-dye mine dark again…

  2. The work you do sounds so very noble and like most noble pursuits in the end heartbreaking. Take care!!

  3. Never ever give in to Paul.  He cant stand it.  I love to torture him. You should too.
    It will be sad to see “your” kids go…but youll get a whole new set and you’ll come to love/hate them jsut as much. 

  4. I admire you very much (and not just because you have blue hair. =P). I admire you because you have the patience to teach kids who other people prefer to forget about. You always see the good in people, even when no one else (including themselves) can. *hug*
    …Of course, I could be just flattering you into posting a picture of this Midnight Blue hair. You never know…

  5. RYN: Oh, dear! I was afraid this would happen! I wasn’t talking about you! I understood from the beginning that you weren’t comfortable with LJ and that it confused you! (you said as much when I said I was leaving!) I wasn’t talking about you at all! I’m sorry that you thought I was… The sad part is that the people I was talking about most likely won’t realize it….

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s