I first met Matilda (name changed to protect identity) in the January of 2019 when she came to my local community Relax Kids club. When I met her, she was very quiet and shy and didn’t do anything to draw attention to herself.
When asked about how she was before we started to work together, Matilda said “life at school was not good and I didn’t want to attend. Home was a battle due to problems at school.”
After taking part in a couple of terms of Relax Kids sessions her mum asked if she could do some 1:1 sessions. Initially we looked at her anger to try and understand the root cause, which we did quite quickly. Her parents reported a change within weeks of us starting, however she was experiencing bullying which affected her self-esteem and confidence was very low, so I continued to work with her for about three to four months to build this back up and teach her stress management and self-assurance skills.
After a serious incident at school her parents changed schools, and she was able to settle into life at her new school easily with the skills she had learned and the extra confidence she now had. She told me she had made lots of friends and enjoyed the new school environment.
She reported “I feel if I’m worried about anything I know Sam will listen and help me through it.”
I thought at this point my work with Matilda had finished, however I was contacted after the first covid lockdown to work with Matilda again, but this time in my capacity as a tutor. Her parents weren't overly concerned about Matilda’s academic achievement but wanted to help ensure she had the best chance of starting secondary as possible after the trouble she'd had at her former primary school. I worked with the now untroubled Matilda through her Y6 year changing from in-person to online lessons as restrictions allowed, even though initially she had been hesitant about working online with me.
Matilda started secondary school in September 2021 full of hope and optimism. She was placed into middle sets for all subjects which she was pleased with and has maintained that easily. At this time, I shared information of the community tuition group that would be happening locally. Matilda's mum contacted me to ask if Matilda and her younger sister could attend. Her younger sister always been keen to be part of our sessions but had been too young to attend previously. So, Matilda and Sophie joined me in September 2021 and are regular attendees.
Matilda is one of the eldest in the group and is a fantastic asset. She gets her homework done quickly so that she can help me run the group. She is a confident leader to her peers and is becoming an effective teacher; on the occasional weeks that Matilda doesn't attend I definitely find my job much harder!
Matilda says “Everything [I have done with Sam] has made me a much better person. I feel more confident at school and enjoy doing homework at Saturday classes as I hate doing it at home and I know Sam is around to help.”
I would describe her now as quietly confident, self-assured but quick to ask for help when needed, and very aware of her abilities. I am really proud of the change in Matilda; she has shown such resilience and is showing great potential. She is a proud supporter of our group and helps promote it within the community.
When asked for her thoughts for the future, she says “I want to get good grades at school and feel attending Sam’s classes will help me achieve this.”