Last night our school had an Open Evening for any potential students and parents to come and check out what our school is all about. We work a lot differently than other schools so it can seem quite daunting to anyone not familiar with this new way of delivering education. Our roles as Supported Learning is a bit different too, so we were lucky to be able to have our own station where we could show all the different aspects of what our job entails. Previously, TA’s were generally assumed to be assigned only to certain students that needed extra help or are considered special needs, which is still a big part of our job, but it can lead to a negative mindset that only the “special” people need us, so when we do approach students to see if they need a bit of support, the response can be quite…. rude at times, usually from the fear of how others in the class might view them.
Here at HPSS, the Supported Learning team are here to support all students with their learning, not just the students that sit at the lower end of the spectrum. Of course, we do focus on supporting our priority learners as much as possible (I myself have 1:1 hours with a particular student who requires that extra support), but we do so much more than that, and to be able to break down the barriers so that we can help everyone without fear of stigmatising them is important to our team. Being able to explain this and show the future students and parents what we are all about was quite empowering.
We showcased how we use resources to scaffold lessons in the classes, pathways and careers, art therapy, what our symtext literacy and numeracy support classes look like, how we support students with physical disabilities, the different ways we support in the classroom, as well a having a student led workshop on Read and Write for Chrome, which was highly successful! If you haven’t encountered Read and Write yet, I highly recommend checking it out. It has opened up many doors for our students with regards to reading and writing, and is useful for anyone! I even stood up and gave the introductory spiel to a large group, something that I really struggle to do, so I even had a personal success that evening as well. I still forgot to breath, but I didn’t mix up my words, stutter or faint (bonus!) so was quite proud of myself for doing that!
It was really good to be able to have a chance to show everyone what we are all about, and we are looking forward to the next Open Evening 🙂