SRtRC Volunteer Magdalena shares her story with students in Southend schools.
When your child first starts school, it’s a big change in your family life, especially if it is new country, new language, new town, new school, new teachers etc. You may feel sad and be worried that your child will be unhappy, will not make friends, or will not enjoy schoolwork. You may be trying to support your child to make it all feel exciting while, on the inside, you are feeling just as nervous.
My 7 year old son was excited but also nervous of his new school, and if his new classmates would like him. Sadly he was not welcomed by many of the children and was regularly bullied. He was verbally abused and on one occasion kicked and strangled. It was a sad and worrying time for him, for me. It took time for his school to help but they did so and he is now happy and doing well with his studies.
When I talk to other children in schools on behalf of Show Racism the Red Card I tell them about my son’s experiences and how hard it was trying to make a new life, with some people being nasty to us, just because we came from another country. Here are a few things the children say to me after I talk with them:
Most children didn’t know anything about Poland, where it is, how big it is, anything at all.
Some children thought Poland is cold country with snow all the time!
Children were shocked, disappointed, ashamed for other English children’s behaviour, sad, angry,
Children asked me a lot of different questions about my son and I, what he felt when he came back from school to home, how long was bullying.
What I did to make situation better? Did I have support from other parents? Do I miss for Poland? Why I moved to England? What is worth visiting in Poland?
I say to children to think before they say things to people, take responsibility for your own behaviour, and find out about other people’s countries, their cultures.
I tell the children that it is a great day to make a new friend, so say hello to kids that you know and the new ones that you don’t. Make the first move and welcome new people to your school. Your new friend!