Tarik Ross-Cameron: Using poetry to make a difference

Evolve Health Mentors are often wrongly mistaken for just being sports professionals. Yet we are fortunate enough to have a group of staff who have incredibly diverse talents. Just ask Birmingham Health Mentor Tarik Ross-Cameron…
There has been a lot of excitement and fascination surrounding poetry at Blakesley Hall this half-term and I have been very lucky to be involved in a lot of it.
The school learned of my involvement in performance poetry and the fact that I was having my first collection published in October and the Headteacher, Mrs Phillips, invited me to share this with the children in assembly.
After half-term, years 3 and 4 were studying poetry in English. Mrs Roberts from Year 4 invited myself and a Teaching Assistant who also writes poetry, Mrs Scott, to give insights into our poetry journeys and practices, read some of our poetry and also do a question and answer session with the children in Guided Reading lessons that week. I also did this in a Year 3 class.
Following that, Year 4 studied a poem called Mi Waan Guh Back, written in Jamaican Patois by a friend of mine (Tanny Tizzle) and a version of Pie Corbett’s Wings, written by myself, and the children then wrote their own versions. I also helped several of my Year 3 mentees to write poetry including one boy who has severe behavioural issues, whom I hope will be able to use poetry to express himself in the future.
Since then, numerous children have taken to writing poetry in their own time and sharing this with their classes and with myself. One Year 4 boy performed his version of Mi Waan Guh Back in Key Stage 2 assembly and received a huge round of applause for it.
Following on from this, I have used poetry writing exercises in mentoring with a few different pupils and will hopefully run Poetry and Rap club again for Year 5 and 6 in the Summer term, as well as a poetry competition next term.
Mrs Roberts enthused: “Tarik has brought poetry to life in Year 4! His enthusiasm and expertise have led us on a journey of discovery…