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Working 1-1 with a secondary school student

12/10/16

Luke takes us through what an average day looks like for him when working one on one with a ‘challenging’ Secondary School student. 

I am currently working in a Secondary School on a one-to-one basis with a boy (whom I will call Adam) with a history of bad behaviour, and whose attitude can change for the worse at the flick of a switch. A lot of my day is spent attempting to keep him focussed, keeping his attention away from the other student's antics and onto his work.

Because of the varying needs of the individual students who come to the Student Support Centre, it seems fair to say that each member of staff's 'typical' day is typically different. For me, a typical day is fairly straightforward. Adam is on a specially adapted timetable because the full-time staff at the Student Support Centre have determined that it is more effective, as well as better all-round: for Adam, for the other children, and for his teachers. Adam also has to leave each lesson 5 minutes before the end in order to stop him from getting into any trouble between lessons.

So I meet Adam in the Student Support Centre at 9AM, where we spend 25 minutes getting him ready for the day: making sure he has his planner and pencil case, explaining his timetable to him, and - attitude permitting - getting some reading practice in as well.

At 9:30 we head to his first lesson. I try to make sure he writes as much as possible, but because of his dyslexia he is adamant that he does not want to write, so I often try to convince him to do some by suggesting we split the writing in half.

After the first lesson, there is a 15 minute break. Adam has to spend this back in the Student Support Centre (as do about 25 other children) because of previous bad behaviour when let loose in the playground. Between break and lunch are two more blocks of lessons, which, depending on the day, we will either spend with the rest of the class in the lesson, or I will take Adam outside and we will play football for around 40 minutes to enable him to let off some steam.

Adam has to be in the Support Centre over lunchtime as well, where he often spends his time on a computer playing games. Coincidentally, this is also what he seems to try and do every time the laptops come out in a lesson - which provides its own challenges!

After the lunch break are the final two lessons, which Adam will take part in. Towards the end of the day, Adam's concentration quickly wanes, which causes him to lose his temper quickly when asked to do even the simplest of tasks. Trying to keep him focussed after 1 O'Clock is tough, and is something I'm still learning to manage.

At 2:35, five minutes before the end of the school day, Adam leaves his lesson and heads home. And that concludes a fairly typical day (for me) working in the Student Support Centre!


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