Hard work is invisible.

I had already decided he couldn’t go.

As much as I wanted him to be with his friends on a fun day out, it just wasn’t safe.

Then the email arrived, from school, telling me they wouldn’t allow my 12 year old foster son to go on the trip to a theme park. Not because of safety concerns, but simply because it was a ‘reward for hard work’.

I was furious. I still am.

For some kids, surviving to age 10 has been hard work.

Getting out of bed and into school each morning is hard work. Getting through an entire day without completely falling apart is hard work.

Other people don’t get to decide. They don’t see it.

At times, hard work is visible only to the person working hard.

That’s not always a bad thing. I try not to complain about how difficult it can be to raise 3 kids as a single parent. It’s nobody else’s job to understand how much hard work is involved.

But this highlights a core failing with how schools view and manage behaviour. If a kid doesn’t meet their criteria, they simply haven’t worked hard enough.

There are no exceptions to where they start from. There is no attempt to understand why expectations aren’t met. They are just labelled.

Trouble maker. Class clown. The kid who doesn’t work hard enough.

This has to change if we are to move forward. We each need to work harder to see the hard work others put in. We need to accept that we often don’t understand or even see the hard work people put in. Hard work is invisible.

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