So, yesterday I did my first ever whole school assembly all on my own. I loved it and now I am hungry for more!! It has been a while since I last blogged and interestingly, my last blog post was based on homophobia after seeing this photo…..
This is the exact same photo that inspired my assembly. I got given the calendar last year and asked for an upper school assembly slot as I had a sports psychologist in to help. Not only did I get given that upper slot but was also given a whole school assembly on a monday morning. My first thought was ‘what a stitch up.’ However, when I came across this photo I knew I had to try and make a difference to the minds of some young people. At least I had the opportunity to influence or challenge the thinking of the ones that I came into contact with. The theme of the week was inspiration…an ideal theme to try and flip on its head. Anyone that knows me will say that I like to try and do things differently, not because I want to stand out from the crowd, but because I want to make a lasting impression on people. Especially when there is a powerful meaning behind it.
So, off i went and started sharing some of my ideas with colleagues. Not only did I want to touch on homophobia but I also wanted to encourage young people to not discriminate against anyone because they are different. This covered race, religion, disability, appearance, interests and nationality. I decided to create my own video for them to see, I used a friend of mine who is in a lesbian relationship and then a disabled PT from the local gym. Both of these had valuable opinions to offer and the message came across loud and clear. Don’t let others put you down for being different and don’t be afraid to accept that you are not the same as everyone else.
I then used my sister as a more personal example. The pupils really related to me having a personal touch and talking openly about how it affected her. I also used this video. It is a perfect example of how no matter who you are, you should be given the chance to love and be left alone to do so. Everyone should respect other peoples differences, even if they do not believe it is right, why comment and make someone else feel negative about their situation. This video depicts all that my assembly was about. Love has no labels, an excellent campaign. It had a very powerful message and a positive affect on everyone in the hall. If you haven’t seen it…it is a must.
After the assembly, I had numerous teachers and pupils come up to me and say how good it was. That wasn’t why I wanted to do the assembly, I did it for the pupils. Even if I could have a positive affect on only a handful of pupils then I would have been happy. There are often times when assemblies are just a formality, when pupils sit there and switch off. Because of the current issues and the personal touch, it seemed like the whole room actually wanted to listen to what I had to say. As a younger member of staff, I feel they related to me more.
I then opened my emails this morning and it made all of the planning and work that I put into it worth while. One of the pupils thanked me for the assembly, saying she had struggled personally and felt alienated for being gay. Was afraid at how her parents would react, she also mentioned that the LGBT pupils in school all agreed and it had a positive affect on them too. I feel more needs to be included in lessons on same sex relationships to help young people come to terms with it and then in the long run, reduce that figure. If more people start taking steps like I did to highlight the issues, then maybe eventually we can work with other campaigners to educate young people and reduce the amount of discrimination against anyone for being different. No matter what it is.