We can all make a difference

It is easy to underestimate the impact we can have on young people’s lives.

Following my conversation with Lora Fachie for The School Run Podcast, she highlighted the impact that a support worker at her secondary school had on her life.  He became her guide runner and sounded like he was full of life, humor and clearly made a massive difference to Laura.

I think when we are working in schools, we forget, or as I mentioned underestimate the impact we can have on young people’s lives.  Whether you are a headteacher, classroom teacher, sports coach, teaching assistant, lunch-time supervisor, or parent, we can all make a difference.

I started an external club at a central venue and it was for children that excelled in PE across my hometown, Bridgwater. My idea behind this was to bring everyone together and try to challenge them, get them competing against one another, building relationships, and prepare them for secondary school sport.  It was on a Thursday evening, and I was working in a school in quite a deprived area during the day.  There were some children at said school that I really wanted to attend the club, but I knew that they would struggle to get there if it meant relying on parents.  I did what anyone would do and offered those children a lift, so they didn’t miss out.  2 boys, in particular, stand out here and I won’t mention their names, but one was from a traveler family and the other’s dad had been in jail and mum was an addict.  The second boy wasn’t the most talented, but his knowledge of every sport, understanding of tactics and I knew he would get so much out of the club meant that I wanted him to attend.  The first boy was the most talented I’ve ever worked with, a bit of a ‘street kid’, he would be out until all hours, playing football with his older brothers and he was brilliant.  He had refined his skills and technique, just by practising.  He was fiery, but could turn his hand to anything, sports he had never played before, he was a natural athlete and could pick things up really quickly.

I’m telling you this because sport was their outlet, they LOVED it and they are both now in their final years of secondary school and if I ever see them, they always say hello and it is clear to me that I’ve made a difference in their lives.  Just by doing something really simple.

The message from this is that no matter your role or job within a school, do it to your maximum.  I am guilty of not being present enough with my daughters, work taking over, but my goal this year is to be more present when they are home.  I always work to give the maximum impact on the business and I need to start seeing parenting as the same, give them my undivided attention and be the best Dad I can.

The same can be said if you are on the playground at lunchtime, or volunteering at your child’s team, taking a PE lesson, give it everything and the impact you will have on young people is immeasurable.  

Be the difference.

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