I know that one person reading this will think it is aimed at her, but it isn’t. This week’s blog is about teachers, teaching assistants and supporters who become part of a child’s life. We have professional boundaries we cannot cross, yet we also have a moral commitment to the individual. We have access to so much confidential and personal information that we may know more about the child and the family than many of their friends do. There may be some professional reading this who will consider my next statement unprofessional, but I also develop a strong relationship with the people I work with, they are my friends, in many cases the people I am teaching or supporting have become more of a friend than my colleagues. But then at the end of the school year or the term or if I need to move jobs I am taken away from this very special ‘friend’. I may never see them again, but I do often think about them. The young girl from Edinburgh who attended the residential college I worked in. Where is she now? She will no longer be in the care system. Is she happy? Has she overcome her difficulties? Does she still dye her hair Orange? Or there are the boys I worked with at Newcastle College, did they ever go on to become the architect and accountant they wanted to be. Does the oldest one still drive? What happened when they left care? There are the sad questions about the ladies I taught in the prison, are they still offending? How are their children coping? Are they in the offending cycle? Are they still alive? The care home I worked in where I had to leave after whistle blowing, are the residents still there? If not where are they now? Has the home improved its standards of care? So many people have touched my life, allowed me to enter their world for a brief moment in time, but they have left me with so much. They have ignited my passion for what I do; they encouraged me to learn more about the autistic world and inspired me to pass on my knowledge to improve the lives of others.
Not only do we build attachments with the people we work with and support but they give us so much that they never really leave us. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for them, those wonderful people on the autistic spectrum who cannot cope with changes, who find socialising difficult and who have difficulty imaging a world without you in it. We as teachers move on and leave, sometimes very quickly, we may not be forgotten but the memories may be tainted by the anxiety caused by us leaving.
I would just like to say to all parents that the decisions we make as carers, teachers, support workers or teaching assistants to move on is never an easy one, and we never forget your children, they have moulded us, helped us, and touched our lives forever.
Thank you for allowing us time with your child.