Diary – A sideways look at the working week.

Head off to school after being a dutiful mum and dropping my two teenagers near their school. Arrive to find that already there are a number of students needing support. By mid-morning my boss is looking frazzled. I suggest that he tries to chill out a little but for some strange reason this doesn’t seem to help. The student who was excluded last week and with whom I have been working for ages returns to school. He is a nice person but can’t keep away from the troublemakers.

I don’t usually work at school on Tuesdays but my boss asked me to bring a mother to a meeting with a student who is unsettled and is spending too much time in student services. The mum has two pre-school-aged children so I suggest we invite them too. I arrive at the family home to find a mother who seems wary of going to the school. But by the time we have chatted in the car and reach school she appears happier. Later, I decide to take a young person I am supporting for a ride in the countryside. We stop by a church and find a yew tree that is 1,400 years old. We marvel at what stories it must have to tell. When it’s time to take her home to her mum I return a child with a brightened spirit I haven’t seen before.

A hectic day at school. As well as just “being around” in student services, I see four students for about half an hour each to talk through issues. One plans to be an actor but can’t decide whether to opt for academic entry or try to be like Ant and Dec. He is bright and has done TV work for years. He’ll talk more on another day about how to be less disruptive in classes. A student tells me she self-harms because the pain is less than the pain she feels inside. She wants to talk more about why she feels that way so we fix a time for next week.

A bit calmer today and I am able to reflect with my colleagues. We hear through the grapevine about a young person who has committed suicide at a neighbouring school. It was someone I had approached to be their social worker. I feel very sad.

I drive our tiny camper van through London on the way to an event on cosmic ordering. I only wish that social work could chill out a little and realise that people are not formulas but complex individuals. I reflect on how and why social work became caught up in its current negative mindset. Perhaps we could all learn from cosmic ordering and its positive approach to life. Of course it’s important for the government to appreciate how effective social work is. But first social workers need to start believing in themselves. Reading self-help books by authors like Barbel Mohr and Dan Millman has inspired me – perhaps they could be of use to others too.

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