I have now completed my first full year in the Bucks No Limits service. As a new manager I often find that I don’t always get the chance to properly sit down and take in all the fantastic work that happens within the service. I know what you’re thinking, I need to make the time, and you are right, I do! This is something I really want to plan in this year and make sure that I do take the time to really see all the little things. So, when the opportunity arose one Friday to cover one of our bases I said ‘yes’ and made sure my diary was clear so I could be free all day! And I’m so glad I did…
Throughout the day I happily sat in the main common room area watching learners and staff coming and going, taking part in the various different educational sessions, ranging from literacy, drawing, budgeting, cooking and general learner and staff interactions throughout the day. Throughout this time there were two Great Interactions that I would like to share:
One of the sessions involved a staff member, Jane, carrying out some literacy work with a learner, Neil, through reading a book together. Jane would point to each of the words and Neil would read them out loud; when Neil was stuck and didn’t know a word Jane would sound this out slowly, using the first two or three letters for Neil to identify what the word was and carry this on to sound it out correctly. Midway through the book Neil turned to Jane, making clear eye contact, and said “I did it, didn’t I?” to which Jane replied, “yes you did, well done” with a huge smile on both their faces.
Another session involved a learner cooking; this particular learner, Bob, was new to cooking and this was only the second session that he had participated in. Bob had already identified what he wanted to make and had bought all of his ingredients from the supermarket earlier that day. Within the recipe there was some work to be done involving the cutting of onions, which I’m sure everyone can relate is not the easiest or the nicest of food items to cut up – it’s emotional stuff! With staff hand under hand support Bob began cutting up the onions, bit by bit into sections, then gradually into smaller chunks ready for cooking. Once the onion had been cut Bob turned to the staff member, Kate, and said “ahh, onions, I can’t see, they are in my eyes”, Kate turned to Bob, speaking calmly, and asked Bob to step outside of the kitchen, directing with his arm, to get some fresh air away from the onion fumes. Bob remained calm and left the kitchen and within about a minute was fine again but thanked Kate for saving him. This was a small thing to happen, but for Bob to remain calm and identify what to do in this moment of panic was a huge learning curve for this young man. It was a lovely session to see as not only did Bob make amazing spaghetti bolognaise but the onion cutting and fumes did not put him off!
It really is so lovely to see all the hard work and dedication of all of the staff, making sure that learners really are at the centre of everything we do and they are supported in lots of different ways whilst finding what the right way is for them.
MacIntyre No Limits