First day at secondary schoolPublished Date: 10 Sep 2021
September is the month I’d been dreading. Bodhi was starting secondary school. I’d spent the whole six-week summer holiday getting Bodhi prepared for a very different school experience, including walking the school route, showing him how large the school was compared to his junior school, sorting out his new uniform especially as he’d have to wear a blazer, and basically explaining that this school would be a very different experience compared to what he’d experienced so far.
What I hadn’t prepared, was me!
I barely slept the night before. On the day, I put on a brave face and waved goodbye to him as he walked off towards the school. He took it all in his stride, not even looking back. All day I worried, wondering what his experience would be like. How would other children treat him? Would he get lost going around the new buildings? Would he sit nearer the front of the classrooms so that he could hear better? Or would he hide at the back? Would it be too loud for him in the corridors? Would him and his teachers wearing face masks affect his hearing?
All that worrying for nothing!
That afternoon when he'd finished school, he walked home all proud and with a big smile on his face. He'd enjoyed his first day at secondary school. He'd enjoyed meeting new people and previous school friends. He liked that he had a timetable and map of the large school. His face mask and hearing aid combo hadn’t affected him that much.
I spoke all evening with Bodhi about his first day and asked him how he felt about his hearing aid, as previously he didn't always like wearing it. He said that his hearing aid hadn’t picked up the bell very well, and that it made his hearing aid rattle. He said that the bell had a weird buzzing noise and, when they had a practice fire drill, he'd got confused between the fire alarm and the normal bell. We discussed this issue and I told him to speak to his form tutor about it. If the teachers are more informed, then they can help more.
This is only the beginning of Bodhi’s journey at secondary school. He has a lot more to find out and experience now with his hearing aid, such as playing contact sports like rugby. The school is a lot bigger, there are a lot more students, the corridors will be a lot louder and there will be lots more teachers to get to know him and understand his ‘hearing’ needs. That's without all the expectations he'll have to meet. However, unlike me who worries, if I think about how resilient he has been since his hearing loss diagnosis, he'll take the next few years in his stride.