Star of the Week

I’m not one to blow my own trumpet; even though I’ve blown a few trumpets in my time. Did I ever tell you I learn’t to play the trumpet when I was at junior school? Did I not? Oh well; that’s another story.

How would you epitomise success? Would it be based around money, good health, a good family unit or something based on a career move? It is a generic question and the first thing that comes to my mind is being fortunate enough to enable my children to be happy with their home, their education and future. But we all have different motives and family circumstances don’t we?

This very thing for me came to my attention only last week, and it completely took me by surprise. I work as a member of a supply staff that visits local schools to educate children in mainstream settings within the classroom. A big part of my job is also looking after children with learning disabilities and special needs, which can be very rewarding, if a little tiring. 

I was asked to work in a school for the past 2 weeks taking care of a little girl with speech and language needs, which were her primary requirements whilst having learning difficulties. She was an absolute pleasure to look after. I was given the adequate information from the staff on the first day about the child, and once we met, it was pretty plain sailing. There were plenty of resources available and I got to know her routine. I even used early on, a plastic clock for her to use (something which is good for children as a visual for their routine by setting the times themselves for lunch, home time and maths lessons etc), she got on very well with this and began to understand how time works.  

All I wanted to do for the 2 weeks was to make sure she felt comfortable  whilst her regular Teaching Assistant carer was away. Some children dislike unfamiliar faces and routines, so I wasn’t too fussed about making sure that she completed all her work tasks etc, I just wanted her to feel comfortable and as happy as possible. So when I had the opportunity when her work was finished, we played snakes and ladders, used the play dough, made Christmas cards and decorations. and joined in the PE lessons, with me getting bashed on the head playing dodge-ball. It was great by the way!

On the last Friday, in the afternoon, the school had a celebration assembly, which they do every week, where the Head gives out a Star of the Week certificate to one child per class for different reasons, such as good behaviour, an excellent piece of work or an act of kindness. The child I was looking after was announced to receive one for ‘adapting very well whilst her carer was away, and working well with Miss Mullaney, which is me!’. So I was really pleased about this as she approached the stage all smiles and full of pride. Then the Head called out my name and I was shocked and quite overwhelmed. I was awarded a Star of the Week, (which is quite unusual for a member of staff), for the reason of working fantastically with the child and making the teacher cups of tea. I was so proud and so happy and quite tearful.

Of all the certificates and qualifications I’ve ever been given in my life, this little certificate from a small primary school on a Friday morning made me realise that I had finally been successful in my career. All the qualifications were a stepping stone towards me reaching the ultimate goal in my working life. To spend a week or so in a school and making a child’s life happy, comfortable and praising them for all their little successes. 

I feel now that I have achieved success in my career.

I am a mother of two children, and have had many experiences in my life that I have been through and had to overcome. I feel it would be beneficial (at least to me, and perhaps you) to share my experiences. I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions. x


  • M.L. James


    How exciting and very well done! What a perfect story to bring us at this time of year! I can only imagine that the work you do and the children and people you work with is very soul-satisfying. Can we please clone you because we need more people just like you in this world! Also, if I don’t speak with you before, may you and your loved ones have a blessed and merry Christmas this year, my dear friend across the Atlantic! Mona

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