A day in the life of a student conductor

Have you ever wondered what a conductor does? Conductive Education student, Megan, kept a diary of one day in her life during a school group placement to give us an insight into what life as a conductor is all about.

Megan, student conductor, with pupil

8am: I arrive at NICE – Centre for Movement Disorders in Moseley and begin setting up the room, starting with the lying programme layout.

8.20am: The children begin to arrive. I greet them all warmly and talk to parents/carers about how they have been. The children then use their walking aids to enter the classroom and go through to the bathroom where I facilitate them in actively transferring them to the toilet seat. They begin to get changed to their uniforms and I provide help and guidance where needed. Once ready they make their way to the mats for their lying programme.

9am: The children are ready, sitting on their stools, ready for the programme to begin. As a second-year student it is my job to deliver the lying programme. I make sure all my equipment and resources are laid so that I’m prepared. I do all I can to keep the children motivated and engaged!

9.30am: End of the lying programme and I help the children to put on their splints and shoes and transfer them to their walking aids before facilitating their walk to their chair at the table. They get seated as quickly as they can, ready to start their lesson.

For their lesson I ensure the children are sitting correctly during their lesson (feet flat, legs bent at a 90 degree angle), this may mean sorting out footboxes for them, grasp bars and another necessary equipment, such as communication books and aids are all laid out ready for the children to use. For the duration of the lesson I help support the teacher by encouraging the children and helping them with their learning. Usually the conductive teacher who is leading the lesson will give each child a task to complete which I help them with.

10.30am: Toilet and snack time! The children are helped into their walking aids and go to the toilets where they are again actively transferred onto the toilet. Majority of the children are toilet training so regular toileting times are important to them. Once finished they wash their hands and then go back to the table ready for a snack! Plates and cups are laid out ready and I give each child a choice of milk, juice or water. I use Makaton alongside verbal communication, to encourage the children to sign or verbalise what their choice is to enhance their communication skills.

11am: Start of the standing and individual programme. I facilitate the children I am working with. I listen closely to what the lead conductor is saying in order to know what I need to do with my participant next.

12pm: Second lesson where I again support the children with the task set by the teacher. There are moments during this course where you feel it’s hard but then there are moments, like in this lesson, where you see a child working really hard and you see them achieve something, even if that thing could be the smallest thing and it’s the best feeling! The smile on their faces is the best reward you can get.

1pm: The children have washed their hands and sang their prayers ready for snack. Now I go on break.

1.30pm: I come back in to the class. Majority of children have finished their lunch. I take them to the toilets and take them down to the mats to play with some toys for a bit. Here I observe the children playing, how they engage and encourage them to use skills they have learned in their programmes in these real-life situations.

2pm: The children have their speech and fine manipulation lesson where I again support the leader by encouraging and facilitating the children.

3pm: The children have a drink, go to the toilet and get changed back into their home clothes.

3.15pm: The children transfer to their walking aids and walk out to their parents. I facilitate their walking as I have been doing through out the day. Once they are with their parents we discuss how they have got on throughout the day.  The feeling when you get to see someone achieve something they have been told was not possible by others – and then you get to share that news with a parent – is indescribable.

3.30pm: I help to tidy up the classroom, put equipment back to the right place and prepare the classroom for the next day (getting the correct chairs for each child, sort out their uniforms and put into their basket ready to use the next day).

4pm: I’m finished for the day! On my way home I reflect on how lucky I am be part of the journey our clients take. Being that person who has supported and guided them is just wonderful and it makes me proud to say that I am a conductor in training.

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