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A Life Less Lost: Chapter 66

...After a day spent trying to plan, teach and manage 33 children and up to five adults in a relatively small classroom, in addition to my management responsibilities, I'm weary...

And now Kimm Walker has to help a young woman teacher who has been badly bullied in another school by a head teacher.

Kimm continues her not-to-missed story, A Life Less Lost.

To purchase a copy of the book click on
And do visit her Web site http://kbwalker-lifelesslost.blogspot.com/

Late in the previous school year, we had been approached by two of our local education authority advisors with a very unusual proposition. A young woman from another school had been very badly bullied by her headteacher and was on the verge of a breakdown. They felt she was a good teacher and they wanted to keep her in the profession but knew she would need her confidence restored.

I'd had some personal experience of the insidious way in which this kind of bullying can steal your self-confidence. A headteacher I'd worked for in the past, Ellen, was personable and had many strengths. We were a cohesive, hard-working and conscientious staff. Warm and friendly, her assemblies were often simple tales from her family life, easily accessible to the young children in our care. She encouraged teamwork and felt strongly that we should all have ownership of the new teaching practices that were being imposed from on high.

But you felt you knew, from comments made in the staff room, what she thought about eveiyone else apart from yourself. She wouldn't sign our planning, leading us to believe she never read it, or pass any comment on classroom displays or other aspects of our work, unless it was critical. She never observed my teaching but that didn't prevent her from having an opinion about it or making it clear that any problems I was having with difficult children were my fault.

She would ask for jobs to be done, which I would do immediately and with enthusiasm only to find she'd done them herself, tipping my efforts into the bin. There were lots of other petty little instances where my self-esteem could have been seriously undermined if it weren't for the refuge I had in God and the friends and family He's given me.

My current headteacher and I had a good reputation for mentoring students and NQT's (newly qualified teachers) so the advisors thought we might be ideal to help this young teacher. Pleased to have been asked and eager to help, we welcomed Rachel. She came to visit a couple of times before the summer and we began to form a relationship. Now back in school for the new term, I discover that three more children have moved into our catchment area and we're now officially overcrowded. Because of Rachel, it's decided that I can take the extra children with her help.

After a day spent trying to plan, teach and manage 33 children and up to five adults in a relatively small classroom, in addition to my management responsibilities, I'm weary. It always seems to take a week or two to get my body back up to speed after the languor of a holiday. My phone rings.
'Mum, turn the news on. Terrorists have attacked America.' James' voice is breathless with shock.

I hurry home and watch, sickened and mesmerised, as the events unfold on TV. It's so much like a horror film, part of my brain hopes that if I watch long enough there will be some sort of conclusion and we'll learn that it hasn't been real.

I pray for the dead, the bereaved, the traumatised, world leaders and the world. I also lift before God the people so consumed by hatred and those that fervently believe they're serving Him in this way. There is a sense that the world is holding its breath, waiting to see what will happen next. The biased and limited information given in the news is frustrating for a situation as dangerous and complex as this one.

It feels perverse for ordinary life to carry on but, of course, it does. The autumn term is always very busy in school. You forget how far you've come with your previous class and it's a shock to grind yourself back, ready to start over again.

We decide to split the class. Rachel takes the fifteen year-one children into a tiny spare room and I keep the eighteen year-two children. She copes extremely well and flourishes in the supportive atmosphere of our school.
The original arrangement had been for us to keep her for one term only but I feel certain God's busy behind the scenes. The timing's perfect and circumstances change as we go along until eventually Rachel becomes a
permanent and valued member of our staff.


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