She entered Year 10 at a new school in Bristol in July of this year, with the hope being that she would make a new start there. But she makes it in only 3 out of 5 days currently. She leaves to go in each morning, but is often back home again within half an hour. She just can’t go in some days.
The backdrop for this history of school refusal and anxiety are as follows:
- Pressure to succeed - PE (frisbee) or school subjects, doesn’t matter, the idea of getting it wrong, not knowing or not understanding is unbearable to her.
- Teachers attacking her verbally (and the punishment system generally)
- She gets panic attacks in this environment
- Other students don’t engage in group exercises so it's boring
- She has no friends in her classes
For me, and for my 12-Week Mentorship Programme, this family are a perfect fit.
The ‘True Colours’ song must have bubbled up in my consciousness this morning as a result of meeting Beth. Cindy Lauper’s rasping, heart-tugging, immensely tender, emotive and empathetic vocal...
"I can see your true colours shining through.
I see your true colours and that’s why I love you,
so don’t be afraid! To let them show,
your true colours are beautiful, like a rainbow"
I met Beth briefly but fully clocked her openness, willingness and obvious power (currently hidden from her of course).
She wants to be a counsellor she tells me. She's had counselling and thinks she could do a better job. It was all talk in her opinion with no practical benefit or solution focus in the process. I am wowed by this insight and response.
I want to steady the ship for her and her mum in this intense time for all the family. Beneath the anxiety I know there is a treasure trove of power, potential and beauty waiting to be unearthed and built on.
I want to help Beth find her own life solutions. What does she think? What does she see might help her in these situations? How would she prefer to go about things generally? I want to help her to find her own agency. No counsellor, or teacher for that matter, can help you unless you are actively trying to help yourself, so it has to be the responsibility of both to work together to find the best solutions. I won’t lay it all on her - the responsibility, the pressure, the needing to know - I will just always be asking, gently inquiring, leaving the door open for her spontaneous opinion, insight and input into our process.
We’ll also study Maths - talking of practical benefit and solutions! - as a vehicle for tangible progress and satisfaction, along with the open mentorship. Maths is such a powerful subject to ‘make friends with’ for many resistant students and to start the journey of self-directed learning with. It’s the perfect ‘dry land’, in an apparent sea of endlessly complex and abstract life issues, challenges and obstacles. It’s so concrete. Maths is clear and simple in one way of looking at it: you either know how to solve the problem in front of you or not. And if you can't solve it, then, with a good teacher and your own willingness, openness and some bravery perhaps... you can learn how.
You can explore my 12-Week Online Academic Mentorship Programme, for parents and teenagers, by clicking here.
There's a free Training Video for parents if you click on 'Apply for Oct 2021' and below that the option to book a free call with me in the next week here.
Let’s see if we’re a good fit? And if not no worries. I know I will enjoy meeting you and will be able to help and advise in all kinds of ways regardless of whether we decide to go ahead with the programme or not.
To yours and your child's happiness, harmony and success in life!
Wishing you all a great week,