I really struggle to finish a book these days. But part of my #18for2018 was to read 11 books and record them on GoodReads, so now I’m accountable.
A few months ago I downloaded Rosie Waterland’s ‘The Anti-Cool Girl’ onto the Kindle app on my iPad. I started it in December and finally finished it today (I’m not proud of how long it took me!!). The following thoughts come from my own head – I wasn’t asked to review this book, I haven’t been paid…blah blah blah.
It gets into the deep nitty-gritty of life. The trials and tribulations of a child, through to an adult. It’s crude and honest…and not usually the kind of book I’d read, despite me being a huge biography lover.
What it brought home to me most though, was the focus on the ‘anti-cool’ students in our classroom. Rosie Waterland talks about her school experience, not being accepted by friends, being pulled out of class by welfare officers and spending time and time again in foster homes. Having parents and de facto parents who drank and smoked and did drugs at all hours of a school night.
How many of our students come to school sleep deprived because their parents were arguing late into the night? Or have no food for school…or breakfast…or dinner?
How many of our students are wearing uniforms that they’ve washed themselves, or maybe haven’t been washed in weeks, or have been worn by three older siblings and are now falling apart at the seams? Or maybe they dread a casual clothes day because all of their clothes are faded hand-me-downs or from Vinnies and out of fashion.
How many of our students cannot focus because they’re worried about which house they’ll be sleeping at, or how many people they might have to share a bed with?
If I took nothing else away from reading this book, it was that compassion is important.
All those classroom rules we have about being on time to class and coming prepared? They might not need to apply for some kids…as just getting to school is an achievement for them.
Those posters and advertisements we put in the school newsletters about packing a healthy lunch for your child? Probably just important to have some of that nutritious food in the staffroom for those kids who don’t have anyone to pack theirs.
Sometimes the rules don’t apply. Who are the ‘anti-cool’ kids in your class or at your school? Show them some compassion.