“When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments, tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become.” – Louis Pasteur –
Tips for anyone working as a shadow in school
Here are some points to consider when shadowing:
Believe in the child. The child will possibly already have low self-esteem and may feel different to the other children. Understandably there will most likely be anxiety and worry going on at home. In our experience the parents begin to worry as soon as it is suggested that their child needs a shadow. The child will pick up on the anxiety and it may well affect them.
Be strong for the child and believe that they can and will succeed.
Try and be as positive as possible and always include positives when giving feedback to the parents.
Keep a daily diary. Communication with the parents is very important and by having a diary it allows them to see how things are going and how they can help. The parents can also write down relevant information about things that are going on at home.
Meet regularly with the parent. It is important to work closely together and share any relevant information. It is also important to remember not to disclose what is going on with other children in the class.
When the child you are shadowing is in a lesson that does not require your support, it becomes an opportunity to do any planning, printing, laminating etc. that needs to be done to support them with their lessons. You can also use this time to do research.
Catch the child doing something good to minimize negativity and increase self-esteem.
Raise the child’s profile. In my experience a child who needs a shadow may possibly have a name for themselves. If this is the case, it helps the child enormously if attitudes can be changed in a positive and subtle way.