And so the theme on The Galllery this week is:
So with the Olympics and Wimbledon on the horizon here in the UK, and the fact that I'm a very big supporter of kids getting involved in sport for all the benefits it can bring, this week's theme is: Action.
As ever, interpret the theme any way you like. It can be sport, playtime, learning to ride a bike, you taking a fitness class (!), running, skipping, skydiving, whatever.
Then I remembered this shot from my archives and so I'm breaking my self-imposed rule of 'no school talk on my blog'.
There's so much going on in this photo, so much action and also inaction. But more so for me is the story behind it.
The photo was taken nearly eight years ago now and all children in it are now, or soon to be, eighteen. They were my third class that I taught in Reading, and they were little
buggers characters, the entire lot of them. So much so, that I couldn't get a supply teacher to cover my class at all; they made every single teacher's lives hell.
And I loved them for it.
It took me until the Christmas term to 'break them in', all gently like ponies. And I did it through love and care. Many of the class didn't have any love or positive attention in their lives, we're talking about children with extremely deprived or tumultuous backgrounds: broken homes, poverty, physical abuse, prostitution, foster care, drugs, sexual abuse, school refusers, and generally badly behaved. I went home every single night from September to December and sobbed my heart out because I felt that I didn't have the skills to care for them or educate them.
And then I spent the entirety of July crying in the evenings because I didn't want to leave them to move back home.
I didn't have lunchbreaks because I was outside running lunchtime clubs renovating the conservation club or taking them off onto the school field to run a rounders club away from the other children. If I did have a ten minute lunchbreak I was invariably called out of the staffroom within two minutes because, "We don't like dealing with the dinner ladies, they just shout at us. You do too sometimes, but at least you listen first!"
When I look at that picture I see a boy who has rebuilt his life and his family from the most horrendous thing to happen to him. I see a lad who lived in fear of his father. And I see a young man who has spent the last seven years overcoming childhood leukaemia.
When I look at that picture I see more than just action, I see survivors.