One thing they don’t tell you before, is that if you work with children you wear many hats. I always knew that my mother was a superhero frequently switching from one role to the next; I never really realised how often the same was demanded of my teachers.
Now that I work with young children I am required to be an educator and carer, to always provide a listening ear and give constant advice, to monitor allergies and medication, to be the disciplinarian and the playmate, to be a friend, to be an adult, to be a teacher…
In line with this thinking, we started this term off with an inset day of first aiding. A quick one day course covering all the basics you might need – from CPR to bandaging. We spent several hours listening, learning and applying our knowledge – performing mouth-to-mouth with Paddy the Plastic Dummy and rolling our colleagues into the recovery position. We practised applying bandages to broken limbs, heavy bleeding and arms with objects sticking out of them! We are instructed in the basics of nose bleeds and epi-pens; what to tell children and their carers in the event of head trauma, grazes, vomiting and high temperatures. We are given special thermometers and first-aid boxes to keep in our classrooms, essentially removing any need for a school nurse.
We have been enabled to do far more than cover a scratched knee with a plaster (which we aren’t even allowed to do anymore due to allergies) and equipped with the necessary equipment. Don’t mistake my tone, if there is a child tomorrow who stops breathing I will be more than grateful that I know what to do to try save their life… But a tiny part of me wonders why the money and energy is continuously being poured into providing me with skills which aren’t teaching.