For Janine*, it has been a year of repeated trauma – first bushfires, then the pandemic.
When the 17-year-old returned to her family home the day after the fires in January, everything she owned had been turned to ash. Stricken by fear and loss, and with her family thrown into turmoil, she began falling behind in her VCE school work.
Jenny, an Education Specialist with TEACHaR^ program, is a former principal with a strong connection with the community near Janine. The two met when Jenny was invited to meet some of the most affected students following the destruction of several schools in the area. They talked about what had been going on and agreed to meet up regularly to keep Janine on track with her English requirements.
The two worked for many weeks, using online resources and creating study plans. Together they made sense of the course requirements – and what was happening in Janine’s family. Janine started smiling a bit more.
Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly, education moved online. Again, Janine found herself thrown into uncertainty and confusion, but Jenny was still by her side as a teacher and mentor, helping her to stay grounded and focused.
One morning, Jenny picked up the phone and called Janine for one of their regular catch-ups. Before she could even begin the session, Janine interrupted, “I’ve got this, Jenny; I can do this on my own. I’m feeling pretty good now”. In just six months, the two had journeyed through the trauma and confusion to find a place of independence and optimism.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy
^Transforming Educational Achievement of Children At Risk