Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Moving On

As a special needs learning assistant, a lot of people ask me if I get upset when a child I have worked with for three years solidly on a one-to-one basis leaves and goes on to primary school.

The simple answer is 'no'.  You do become very attached to the child when you are working with them - after all, your duties are not just teaching reading and writing but may include helping them to eat, change clothes, make friendships, all the day to day minutiae that a parent does at home.  However, when the time comes for them to move on, the actual reaction is one of happiness  that the child is ready for the next stage in their life and that you had a large part in making this happen.  Of course there is a tinge of sadness on the actual last day of term when you bid them goodbye, but that soon dissipates and you look forward to hearing about their progress in the future.

It is slightly sad that sometimes you will not hear how they are getting on for months, perhaps years, but when you do learn of their achievements it is with a sense of pride. 

I've also had to experience the flipside of the coin when it has to be admitted that the child is in the wrong place at mainstream school and needs to go to special school as they are just not getting the kind of help they need.  This is perhaps a bit more upsetting in some ways as you have to deal with a slight sense of failure.  It would be nice to have the power to help every child that comes your way in the job, but it isn't always the case which can be tough to deal with on a personal level.  The trick is to take a step back and accept this fact for what it is, be glad that someone with more expertise is taking over and hope that they will be the ones to make the difference. Unfortunately, these are the cases where you may not ever hear about the child's progress in their new school, but it is also your turn to move on.

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