Wednesday, 16 May 2012

What happened next?

As a teacher and perhaps even more as a Chair of Governors I often became involved with pupils and families going through a crisis. From nowhere a name would suddenly get mentioned more and more frequently and Claire’s eyes would start to glaze over when I embarked on the latest episode in the long-running saga. Then just as suddenly it would all be over – the problem would be solved or delegated elsewhere and my life would return to normal.

But what happened next? Most of the time I didn’t know, or to be frank, I didn’t care. There were just so many half-remembered names and faces and I didn’t have the emotional energy to care about them all. But a few cases remain fresh in my memory even years later and it can be annoying and frustrating in equal measures when I realize that I will just never know what happened next.
How about the former student who came to a college reunion I helped to organize down in Somerset with her “sugar daddy” who must have been 30 or 40 years older than her. How long did that relationship last?
Or the care-leaver who I started working with at the same time as E and E? She was clearly a pleasant girl with a story to tell and, above all, she was urgently in need of adult support. But not, it appears, from me, because our email contacts gradually petered out over the first two or three months of the project and I haven’t heard anything from her for at least two years.
The saddest story is about Ruth (not her real name). She posted on a very well-known forum and, by chance, was the subject of the very first thread I read there. She was a student with an eating disorder and boyfriend “issues” and to my innocent eyes was exactly the type of person that the readers should have wanted to help. But sadly she was ignored by most of the regulars and sneered at by a few of the others. She posted a handful of times but then gave up and as far as I know never reappeared. My antipathy to that particular household name started then and continues unabated!

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