I’ve just started a new job which is 100% different to the whole waitressing gig. 

I’m now working as Centre Manager/Teacher/Teaching Assistant at a Learning Centre which supports children who are home schooled; either because they can’t cope with mainstream school because of learning difficulties or other various reasons. I work at two separate locations; one location I am a Centre Manager and at the other I’m a Teaching Assistant. One is technically more hands on in regards to interacting with the students, but because of the size of the learning centres, both are pretty much the same.

Monday and Tuesday were completely different from today, mainly for reasons of it being in a completely different location, the other being completely different students.

I have taught Chinese, assisted in English lessons, not so much maths or science lessons as I’m not that confident in them subjects myself, so I feel as much of a student as my students.

Each child has their background and each child has their reasons for being homeschooled.

And they are, undoubtedly, amazing kids! They are so involved and so eager to learn, that in fact at my centre, they want to get involved in teaching! Some are quieter than others, but never-the-less are definitely a part of the crazy goings-on at the learning centre.

At one of the Learning Centres we have one student who I’m definitely looking out for. 

Under the Child Protection Act I am not to reveal the gender, age, name or locations of where specific children attend. I’m also not to go into detail of their histories as that is purely their business.

They have Autism. For the sake of this story, I’m going to call them Patty. It’s a little more serious than Dale, as they physically cannot stand touch or even sitting next to someone. At first they were a little shy, but very soon started to get involved, joining in a game of Rounders, 1 Truth 1 Lie and many other games that we play. They wanted to be very involved, very often trying to answer all the questions in the lesson or wanting to assist the teacher by writing on the board etc.

At the end of the day, when the students were about to go home, we played ‘Duck Duck Goose’. Now, this game can involve touching as it requires a child to walk round a circle of other children, patting their heads saying ‘duck’ until they decide on one child, saying ‘goose’ and then they have to run around the circle, trying to catch the ‘ducker’. While setting up the game and explaining, I did have to double check with Patty whether they were okay to be patted on their head, which good on them, they told me no. So we arranged that the ‘duck’ would hover over Patty’s head instead of tapping their head.

It was amazing to see each student go round the circle, patting everyones head and when getting to Patty, seemingly without thinking just hovered over their head.

There was once in the game, when a younger child (a younger sibling of a student) didn’t realise and did pat Patty on the head, which I did see Patty’s face drop. I didn’t want them to leave the game so I did keep an eye making sure they were okay.

And absolutely fantastically, Patty stayed in the game.

We then silently communicated that when a younger child was the ‘duck’, Patty would move into the circle to avoid being ‘duck’ed which they were happy to do.

I really really hope I see Patty again, if anything to see them grow. They are an amazing child, not afraid to let us know what they need to go about their business. In a sense I admire them. I’m not sure whether I’ll see Patty tomorrow but hopefully definitely next week!

Well Done Patty!

The Learning Centre is definitely an amazing organisation to be a part of. At normal School, children can be so vicious and sometimes very cold to one another. Here, they have a mutual respect for one another, and easily accommodate each others needs. Mainstream School, children see the differences and pick on them. This Learning Centre, the children seem to see the differences, and go “okay, this person is different, and that’s okay!”

It truly is a fresh sight to see, especially when I was seriously bullied at school myself!


Author: Alli

Howdy! Artist | Illustrator | Designer |Photographer | Waitress What do ya know... I'm a round-house aspie lover!

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