Though I'd never overtly thought it I'd presumed that my life and those that journeyed with me would meander relatively unscathed and on the well worn paths of society's norms.
In part that's happened, as time as gone on I find us a little lost and in the fringes. The walk from the mainstream to the fringes was a surprisingly short journey. Education.
The debate on school exclusions has ground on over the last few weeks and being a natural pragmatist I tend to see the reasonable middle ground in most debates. I'm really struggling with this, listening to arguments on both sides I realise that I'm in, we're in, the fringes.
I read well argued debates on child education and whole class welfare, on zero tolerance and parental responsibility and mutter under my breath to myself:
Walk a mile in my child's shoes, walk a mile in my shoes.
Frankly dear teacher, I can no longer be bothered to explain at length the impact of early trauma and adversity, to lay out my child's world view and anxiety, simmering shame and fear.
I'd like you to do your job.*
Talking to a good friend and highly qualified teaching professional she shook her head as we discussed the challenge and she noted, when will many teachers consider what they can do to help, that perhaps the child is not the problem, the methods employed are? They could listen perhaps to an army of parents who would be more than willing to have a reasonable conversation with them about what helps and what does not. Of course the vanilla SWer in me shouts there are good teachers, many good teachers and we've had lots of amazing teachers. I agree wholeheartedly but from the fringe it doesn't seem that way. A few rotten apples can ruin the barrel.
Education is a path we all must traverse with our children, for many of us it is a challenge of unequal proportions in our lives. For one of my children my primary educational aspiration is that they're still in mainstream education by the time she reaches her GCSE's.
*Sorry, the nice me is appalled at myself.