The term ‘serving’ can mean different things to different people.
If I was to sum up my career in education in one word, ‘serving’ is the word that comes to mind.
In 2005 I began my first permanent job in a secondary school in South London as a behaviour officer. I cannot tell you how proud I was of myself. Before then I was a youth keyworker for a community centre based in Camden. I think being a keyworker ignited my interest in working with children more than ever before. Although I came against some challenges in that job, I still had a good time and realised I had a knack for working with children displaying challenging behaviour.
During the early stages of being a behaviour officer I remember having to confront some rather boisterous young people (boisterous is not the word I would usually use but I’m being PC here!). My goodness, my stomach would do flips. There were occasions when I didn’t want to confront these young humans but it was my job, and you know what? I felt the discomfort and did it anyway. It was through these instances where I began realising I am talking and they’re actually listening. I don’t think they always paid attention to what I was saying but I think my manner caught their attention. My approach was firm but fair, still is. I showed a lot of tough love towards those children but they knew where they stood with me. I listened. I was honest. I was present. I cared.
Of course I wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some children hated the bones off me but that was fine. They knew where they stood and knew I embodied discipline, order, support, advice, love and care.
My career developed at that school and I was given the opportunity through hard work and merit to become a cover supervisor (cover teacher), drama teacher, extra curricular urban dance teacher and then a behaviour/inclusion manager. I am grateful for those 8 years. They have taught me so much.
Moving on, I applied for the role of pastoral manager at a school in East London. I was elated when I was offered the job. Again I was proud of myself. It was a long interview process with more than 12 candidates. I couldn’t believe I was top choice.
As much as I loved my time there and loved working with the children, this school is where I learned more about everything else but the children.
As I write in reflection thinking about my time working with young people, I feel quite sad in some instances. Some service providers do really well and some not so well. I do feel a lot of children are missing out on what they really need. They’re missing out on a great service, a more personable and nurturing service.
Through my experiences, learning and observations, I know not every school or service is the same. From experience, what I do know is that many young people need more social and emotional investment. I feel that our young people are somewhat disenchanted and often misguided. Though this maybe the case, I do believe there is hope.
My serving of one kind is over.
My true serving is just beginning. My purpose is at the core of working with young people helping them realise the best version of themselves. I believe there is more to life than exams and results (yes I said it!). Academia is just one aspect that shapes a child’s life but imagine the impact on a young person realising and believing they could really do anything they put their mind to. They would know boundless opportunities. They would learn about confidence, self care & respect, happiness, intuition and purpose. Most of all they would gradually learn about positively honouring their spirit and goals.
With this, I strongly believe in FAMILY. I am aware that families can be complex but families are fundamentally important when we think about the shaping of a child’s life. Through my practices, I’ve loved working with many families and felt it was always important to be that key figure that was approachable, clear, practical and honest. When supporting children in schools, most parents want to know who is looking out for their child. They want someone who actively demonstrates they care about their child, and rightfully so. I intend to continue working close with families. I am extremely keen to help families foster positive relationships with the young people in their lives. I am also on a quest to reach out to young people within my own community in a capacity new to me. I have been made aware there is a need for services suitable for youths in my area. With my heart, skills and knowledge, I’d like to create something good and worthy.
So, as it stands, I am here to serve our young people in helping them become the best they can be and teach them about perspective, positive thinking, self confidence, self worth and most of all, being ABUNDANT!