Lots of children suffer abuse and struggle with emotional challenges and desperately need help.
School is often their sanctuary and particular teachers are their go-to adults because they trust them.
Teachers are more than just teachers. We know the job is a Russian doll of jobs within jobs. One of these key jobs is being an ally to children, providing guidance, providing a voice, fighting their corner and being there for them when they really need it.
As allies, teachers are adult mentors who stand tall and strong in times of hardship and children turn to them as a support system. For children who have suffered abuse at the hands of adults, choosing a teacher ally is a big move because they have been hurt and harmed. Students might need help in identifying the allies they have in their lives but every teacher is a potential ally and as teachers we have to let them know “You can trust me – I am your ally.”
They may have suffered oppression based on their race, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, (dis)ability or other identities. If they have then they need an ally, a teacher and partner who will speak out against injustices and support an individual on their own terms. We have to proactively listen, validate and help students.
Schools that have a culture of allyship help students feel valued, supported, and heard. We can all be active allies are willing to challenge, be visible and influence others.
As Stonewall say, “Being an ally is about listening to and learning from someone else’s experiences and showing your support for them.”
Allyship creates a more equitable and inclusive school. It also makes it a safer one and everyone at school should expect that as an absolute minimum.