Category Archives: 1.1 Social Justice

In-Service Day – ACEs

Today I attended a talk and workshop based around ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). The talk was carried out by Chris Kilkenny who himself had many ACEs in his childhood. Now at 24, Chris talks about his experiences and how as teachers we can take 5 minutes out of our day to speak to children, find out how they are feeling and hopefully help them feel even a little bit “normal”. We can show these children we care, we respect them and build a good relationship with them. It could be something as simple as providing a slice of toast in the morning or offering a hug to somebody that needs it.

Chris’ talk was thought provoking, interesting and a great insight in to how some children are feeling and how they are living. Poverty can play a huge part in their school day and it is our job to try and make sure they have the best experience they can whilst at school.

Today has made me think about my practice and what I could do to help in my future career.

Stereotyping and Structural Inequalities

When you think of teachers most people have that stereotype of “they don’t do much”, “They play all day” and the most common one “Teachers get lots of holidays!”. These are exactly that…stereotypes! I have occasionally thought about the stereotypes teachers have but I had never, until attending this lecture, thought about other stereotypes from other professions such as Social Workers or Community Learning & Development workers.

As a group we discussed the stereotypes we had heard or even thought ourselves and we tried to dispel those. In reality it boils down to the media and the way in which these professions are portrayed. Google “Social worker” and you are faced with a barrage of news articles about how they have failed such and such a child. We never see the good only the bad. What about those hundreds and thousands of social workers every day who give support to the families that need it. Nobody mentions the social worker who is so involved in her cases that he/she continues to think about it even when at home.

Teachers. Yes, they get long holidays but even though they may not spend time inside of their classroom they are spending their spare time buying new resources for their classrooms, discussing which books or movies their pupils would love to see, worrying about that child who is struggling….It isn’t just a job but a vocation.

CLD…What is CLD? Nobody knows and that is the problem. CLD workers need to be given more limelight. They are a precious stepping stone in between a teacher and a social worker. They provide a lot of frontline help and support for thousands of families and children around the UK but they never seem to get the appreciation they should.

Structural Inequalities… Well what can i say apart from I felt bullied, picked on and not good enough because my group didn’t have the same tools as everyone else. Of course! This was a test. Well it worked! My group did the best with what we could but it didn’t stop us from feeling like we weren’t good enough. No child should ever feel like that but they do. As a student teacher i need to build on the foundations i am given to ensure that none of the children in my classroom ever feels worthless, not good enough or picked on. Equality is hard to achieve as a whole but if I keep it simple and let my pupils use their imagination and start them off on an even footing then I will be happy that they are equals in the classroom even if they aren’t equals at home. I’d love to change the world and make it fairer but I cant.

I am now understanding these other professions better. I’m thinking about how we can all work together to provide a better future for the next generation of adults in Scotland. The media has a lot to answer for! I want to be a big part in providing the best opportunities I can for children when they are in my care.