As a teacher and tutor, my primary concern is the child in front of me that I am teaching.
I am free from the burden of "diagnosing" kids.
I am unencumbered by the bureaucracy of funding applications and IEPs.
These are the domain of psychologists and school administrators.
I appreciate the information that can be gained from psychological testing, understand the need for funding applications and respect the process of accountability that IEPs provide. But when it all boils down to it, I'm the one who is going to be sitting with your child each day teaching them. While my teaching will be deeply informed by the reams of specialist reports and "professional" advice I am provided by various stakeholders, and informed also my my own experience and knowledge as a skilled teacher, my focus, will be on how I am going to work, in a very practical sense, in the best interests of the child in front of me and support them to learn, and it may vary from the blueprint from time to time. After all, no two children are exactly the same, even if they do have the same diagnosis. So while those reports and advice might be a good starting point, they are only part of the process of teaching a child.
Teachers are, in a sense, technicians or tradespeople, and I like the comparison.
While there are many architects and designers theorising about what is possible and what might be for each child, it will be the teacher/tradesperson who is responsible for working with the raw materials they are provided. We will follow the plans and even marvel at the genius of the design but in the end, teachers will be the ones on the ground laying the foundation and building the framework on which something beautiful will be begin to take shape.
Sometimes the knot in a piece of wood is viewed as a blemish, but a skilled tradesperson will work with the timber to make that same knot a feature that adds character and uniqueness to the build.
Samantha Jefferson has been teaching for over 20 years and has worked in private, state and Catholic schools all over the Gold Coast. Employed as a class teacher, department head, school leader, teacher trainer, mentor, consultant and Education Journalist her greatest challenge in the field of education has been as a parent of two children with diverse learning needs.
Wings Tuition and Learning Support provides individualised learning support and tuition to students of diverse abilities. We don't just tutor students, we take young people under our wing to provide coaching and mentoring that supports them to grow in independence and confidence.