I don't watch a lot of TED talks - but there is one that I really like. It is called 'Every Child Needs A Champion', and I find it really inspiring. It was made by a wonderful teacher who has now left this world called Rita Piearson.
It is here, if you want to watch it..... Every child needs a champion
I watch this often, and it reminds me of why I do what I do.
Not so long ago, I found myself standing up for a particular child. This little person has really given her teachers the run-around, apparently. She isn't very pleasant in other classes. I don't teach her very often, but she has always been lovely for me. She is a musical little soul - she sings beautifully, and has always really responded to music in class. Whenever she sees me she greets me by name, and smiles, and sometimes even gives me a hug. I like her a lot. I appreciate that she can be trouble, and she has a mouth on her - but, actually, I don't see that. I see a basically decent kid.
I wanted her to participate in some classes I was taking, and the powers-that-be in her school said no. She hadn't behaved in some other classes, and so they were going to use no music classes as a punishment. But I work for a charity who try and engage kids just like her. So I stood up for her.
Well, I was told I was being manipulated. I was wrong. I was being taken for a ride. That she would disappoint me. That she was no good. Other teachers got angry with me. In fact, a few got really angry with me.
I had to talk to a few trusted souls, people whom I respect, to check that I was doing the right thing. Was I really being manipulated by this child? Should I give her a go? (I don't know about you, but if enough people tell me I am doing the wrong thing, I'll at least think about it.....) But deep down something told me I should put my neck on the chopping block for this kid. And my trusted friends agreed with my inner voice.
So I got shouted at, and told that I was doing the wrong thing some more. I trod on toes, and had heads shaken at me in disbelief. I was told I was a fool.
But she was in my classes, and she participated. And she had a good time. She performed with me - and even smiled. She was polite, and helpful.
My heart breaks for this little person who as blown all her chances where she is. She's a good kid. In fact, sometimes she's a lovely kid.
But I found it hard sticking up for her.
But I'd do it again.
She was worth it.