Last Monday morning, Little Heath School - a special needs school in the London Borough of Redbridge , welcomed me into Class 14 RE to do a TrueTube workshop. I was greeted by not only the lovely Ms Anne Krisman, but a homemade chocolate cake. (which I strongly suggest should be the standard welcome gift in all social situations) As If this didn't make me feel welcomed enough, I was then introduced to one of the most helpful students I have encountered so far in my job. One of the boys had arrived at least fifteen minutes early to my session. He walked straight up to me, shook my hand and introduced himself with a beaming smile. Ms Krisman suggested he helped me set up the room for my workshop, and inevitably made my session look a lot more colourful and intriguing for the students than I could have done. Within a few minutes, he had laid my worksheets out on each desk in a colour co-ordinate format and had even sharpened all the pencils for his class mates who were about to arrive. The bell went. I was then greeted by a dozen more handshakes, a dozen more friendly faces, and felt like I had known all the students for ten years instead of ten minutes.
The TrueTube workshop focused on religious and personal journeys. To learn about religious pilgrimages, we played a card game in teams of five. The atmosphere was electric as the student’s sense of competition and enthusiasm gradually built as the game went on. The next part of the lesson involved watching the TrueTube animation ‘Life is a Journey’ as a class. This short, light hearted film introduces stages of life we all might face one day.This was the trigger for the last part of the lesson and the part which has imprinted on my memory. Each student had been asked to write down either their biggest journey so far, or what journey they want to take in the future. The results were humbling. One student said his biggest journey so far had been moving house. He showed profound articulation as he gave a thorough account of the challenges he faces and how he overcame them. The students who expressed their journeys for the future ranged from becoming an actress to getting married. The detailed ambitions and recollections expressed by the whole class emphasised the diversity of characters found in just one classroom. Their sense of passion and vision was a joy to work with, and a gift that should be treasured when it comes to the world of education. It was clear that their learning disabilities were not a barrier when it came to their creativity. On the contrary, it was a power which underpinned their inventiveness and gave them the honesty and imagination, others sometimes struggle to find.
Without a doubt, it was one of the most inspirational days working for TrueTube so far. The altruism that surrounded me that morning is something you cannot overlook. A landmark now, on my very own journey.