This September my daughter (Jordan) started Grade 10. We had done a high school profile for her in Grade 9 that included her vision and knew that we needed to update it for Grade 10. I had taken the first week of school off of all work and social media so the profile update had to wait. Call it fate, destiny, procrastination, whatever you will, but the first week of school brought about some important lessons for Jordan that were integral in updating her profile.
Although the lessons were frustrating and required a bit of discomfort they were also exciting for me because I was envisioning how we could use these lessons in her profile. Starting Grade 10 she had four classes, four teachers. All of the teachers have different styles and approaches to students. One of them refers to his students by last name. Jordan’s last name is Harry. Every day for the first week of school she was referred to as “Harry” during one class. He also greeted her this way in the hall way. I’m sure most can imagine the teasing that can come from this last name in general but it is especially sensitive to Jordan because she is profoundly proud of her family name. She has lost her grandfather and does not see her father often so equates teasing with making fun of her family. We went ahead and added “people referring to me by my first name….not Harry” to the “important to” section of her profile.
Jordan also struggled with the location of her locker being so far from her classes. She was stressed about not having enough time to get to her locker and then to class in the allotted break times. She asked for change and was told it was against policy. We added “having a locker central to my classes to reduce anxiety” to her profile. Last year her profile helped her to warm up to public speaking and she wanted to get more comfortable with it so added “Please help me grow in this area” to the supports section. She also changed her vision from a child care career to a career in aesthetics. She has found a great passion in doing manicures and pedicures.
Once we completed the profile I sent it off to the school to be distributed to teachers. When they did not receive it within the first few days we printed hard copies and Jordan handed them out to each teacher. The response was different but positive from each teacher. One teacher caught himself a number of times starting to call her “Harry” and rephrased to her first name. Another sent me an email thanking me for providing this snap shot of Jordan and told me how useful it will be in supporting her success. The other two teachers told Jordan how much they appreciated it and thought it was a great idea. The Cosmetology teacher is focussing on aesthetics with her. She was also successful in getting her locker moved.
Simple statements put on paper and shared with others made a huge difference for Jordan’s level of comfort, anxiety and success in school. Simply huge!