Why we hold the line



I was at school today with Sweet Boy. Sweet Boy was excluded permanently from his secondary school well over a year ago. He was a terror. I don’t blame the school for excluding him. He has been in and out of the Pupil Referral Unit and for some time, he hasn’t been anywhere at all.

Enter Michaela. We take him in. Silent corridors? Homework must be completed? Tough.

I meet with mum and Sweet Boy and tell his mum that she is half responsible for the situation her son is in and she had better step up as a parent. Her eyes open wide. “Don’t worry,” I say. “We’ll help you. But I need your commitment that you are willing to do your bit.” She nods in agreement.

Sweet Boy tells me he wants to turn his life around. “Yes, yes,” I say, “I’ve heard that one before…” He smiles. I smile. “You’re going to have to prove it to me.”

We induct him into the Michaela Way.

He takes to it.

Every now and then, I see him in the corridors. Like all kids who join Michaela, he is grateful for the calm, the high expectations and the hard work.

Then one day towards the end of term, one of Michaela’s teachers sees his phone.

Does he hand it over?


I talk to him. He won’t hand it over. So polite though. So nice to me. We sit for 45 minutes chatting. I ask to see the phone. He hands it to me. I have a look at it. I hand it back. “Unless you want to give it over, I’m not taking it.”

He smiles. Sweet Boy has such a lovely smile. ‘You can’t smile your way out of this,” I explain. “I have to keep you out of school for the next couple of days. I need that phone.”

He nods. “I know. But I just can’t give it over.”

Roll on today. His mum is with him. Sweet Boy sees me and instantly smiles. I can’t help but smile back. Sweet Boy takes out all this summer homework – optional – that he has completed. He is proud of himself. We run through our expectations of him for the rest of the summer. I explain to mum about how I need the phone. She nods. I look to Sweet Boy. “If I made an exception for you, how do you think the other kids would feel?” Without hesitation, he replies, “They’d think it unfair.”

“Yes,” I say, “And then Michaela wouldn’t be the school that it is.” Sweet Boy nods, knowingly.

He takes out his phone and puts it in my hand. I grin, turning to his mum. “Sweet Boy is going to make it. I know he is. He’s a lovely boy. We just need to get him to make the right decisions IN the moment, when it is really HARD.” I look back at Sweet Boy. “We’re going to get there, right Sweet Boy?”

“Yes, Miss. Sorry, Miss.”

There’s no better job in the world than being a teacher. It’s our duty to hold the line.

Author: tomisswithloveblog

Headmistress at Michaela

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