7 February 2013

Teaching: an awesome responsibility or an amazing opportunity?

Tween 2 has had a very up and down relationship with school.  Whilst she is outwardly my most confident child - the 'social butterfly' - on the inside lurks a whole bundle of insecurities.  A while back, I wrote a post entitled 'Separation Anxiety', something she has suffered from the majority of her life.  Throughout her first year of school, she cried every day when I left her. Not major screaming, grabbing onto my leg kind of crying, but the bottom lip wobbling, desperately trying to hold in the panic, silent tears kind.  As her mother, this was hard to watch.

During the Reception year at my children's school, parents are encouraged to sign up on a rota to help.  This involves spending a morning or afternoon in the classroom, assisting the teacher and generally getting involved with the class. After two visits, the teacher advised me not to come any more as it was clearly upsetting H, to the point where every time I moved, she began to cry. Whilst that let me off the hook (anyone who knows me, will understand that being in a classroom of 25 children is not my most favourite way to spend a day!), it also made me feel a little bit sad.

H is now in year 6, her last year at primary school.  She still suffers most mornings from either a tummy ache or headache as the thought of going to school brings on a knot of anxiety and stress.  I have periodically mentioned these anxieties to her various different class teachers, but my words have always been brushed off with:  "but she is such a happy, smiley, popular member of the class who is always polite and never displays any sign of  insecurities or worry".  What they don't understand is that she has had 6 years to perfect this facade and unfortunately at home, we bear the brunt of these 'worries', resulting in anger, tantrums, negativity, difficulty sleeping and a whole load of attitude!  Some of you might be reading this and thinking - isn't that how most Tweens behave?!  And yes, I would be inclined to agree with you (she has an older sister after all!) but when your child is pacing the floor until midnight most nights, shouting at you to be quiet because she can't sleep, I don't think it's merely 'tween behaviour'.

This year, for the first time ever, her current class teacher has noticed and understood my little 'worry wart' (which she has affectionately named her!).  Whilst the other children were at assembly a few weeks ago, she asked H to stay behind.  All it took was a little prompting from a friendly and caring teacher and those worries tumbled out like a waterfall!  Mrs E quickly recognised a child who is lacking in self-confidence and from that moment, has made it her goal to build her up with encouragement and praise, whilst also organising extra numeracy lessons. Between them, they have even perfected their own secret sign which means: 'I'm not coping well in this social situation or friendship group, please help!'

Today I am thankful for teachers. In particular Mrs E, who has taken the time to nurture, understand, empower and bring out the best in my child. In just 4 months of being in this classroom, she has come on leaps and bounds academically and is blossoming.  Last week she was pronounced 'Star of the Week' for 'being a great role model to the rest of the class and school'.  Her proud face as she ran out of school to tell me, was priceless.  

It is so very true that a teacher has enormous power to either build up and change the course of a child's life, or tear it down.  Do you have memories of a teacher who inspired you or had a positive influence on your life?  Perhaps you were unlucky enough to have a teacher who did the exact opposite.  I would be interested to hear your stories....
 
I am linking this post up with Mummy from the Heart's R2BC linky.  Please click on the link to read some more thankful posts:

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
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33 comments:

  1. I'm glad this story into a positive one and good for the teacher fir stepping in. My friend was only deacribing the other day her anxiety build up of going to school, but when she got there it was ok...sometimes she found it incredibly difficult to even leave the house. This was something that was brushed off and at 25 her doc recommends CBT. These things can take over but the fact it's addressed now (at school) can only be a positive things.
    Oh I wonder what challenges will present themselves on my parenting journey. I suppose now I should count my self lucky 'little people, , little problems'
    The OH is now in that position and teaching seem alot less about teaching and more about emotional support, for all sorts of reasons. The complexities of our emotional selves hey

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    1. Yes, I am pleased that her teacher is taking the time to notice her and try to help. It must be very debilitating as an adult and this is what I'm trying to avoid. So many children out there need emotional support, if you get a teacher that's prepared to offer it, what a great thing! Must be pretty draining on your husband somethings though..

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  2. I was terribly shy and full of self-doubt as a child and was lucky enough to have a marvellous teacher in year 5/6 who became like a father figure to me (my dad left when I was 5). He gave me confidence and his time and support. I was lucky enough to come across him on Facebook last year and got to tell him how much I app aired everything he had done and how he would always be my favourite teacher!
    I am a teacher myself now and you rarely get to see what happens to the see you sow, both academically and pastorally. So I was so glad to be able to tell him..albeit 30 years on!
    I am so glad your daughter has found some support. X

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    1. What a lovely teacher, they can have such a positive influence on our lives can't they? My eldest had a male teacher in year 6 who she also really bonded with - he even sent me an email when she was in year 7, to ask how she was getting on at her new school! I guess as a teacher, you must become attached to certain children from time to time. You teachers rock! x

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  3. It really does help when you have a understanding teacher....it can make all the difference to a child wellbeing....fab reasons x

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    1. Can't it just! Thanks for commenting :)

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  4. Teachers are in such a powerful position, the ones that can really develop a child are the gems of the teaching world.

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    1. Yes, and for them I believe it's a vocation. Sadly, there are others who are remaining in it for the pension (or were!) - enough said about those ones the better!

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  5. Great reasons..it does make a huge difference to have a understanding teacher, xx

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    1. There aren't many of them around so I'm very thankful for this one. Thanks for commenting :)

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  6. I had a great teacher in primary school and another at grammar school, I've never forgotten them, they were very influencial in my life. Hope TC has the same. Pleased your daughter found some support xx

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    1. I think that sometimes teachers underestimate the power they can have on children's lives - a privilege but also quite a responsibility. Thanks for commenting :) x

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  7. What a wonderful post, and I am so pleased she has such a supportive & understanding teacher! x

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    1. Thank you. It makes such a difference! x

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  8. I loved reading about your daughter's teacher. As a teacher, this is what I aspire to be. I hate to think of sending my children off to school to a place where their teachers aren't trying to understand and support them in their development, academically or otherwise. Luckily, most teachers are in the profession because they genuinely care and love the kids they work with. She looks so happy in her photo!

    xx

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    1. Ah, thanks for commenting! Sadly, we have had experience of some teachers who don't have such a love for the job - this one is like a breath of fresh air and I'm very thankful that my daughter bagged a good-un! x

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  9. This is so lovely. What a lovely teacher. Brought tears to my eyes reading that!

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    1. Ah thank you. There really are still some good teachers about!

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  10. Wow ... that is such an uplifting story! How important - how influential - the impact of a good teacher can make. Very happy to hear she is much happier at school. You must be feeling so relieved! X.

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    1. Yes I really am. Now we've just got to sort out her behaviour at home!

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  11. That's such a lovely thing to read. I'm so glad someone finally sat down and listened to your girl and took her seriously. When I was in secondary school I had a horrendous dream where my Mum died. After that, I couldn't go to school for a week and I would burst into tears whenever we weren't in the same room. And I was 12! It actually ended up quite serious because I stopped going to school and ended up with depression. All because of a silly dream, BUT mainly because no one ever took me seriously. I too had the stomach & headaches, eventually leading to migraines.
    I think anxiety needs more of a platform tbh so teachers and careworkers alike can look for the signs and recognise when a child, such as your girl, are in need of help!

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    1. Misty that's just awful! It's amazing how the sub-conscious can also be affected so badly :( Poor you, and 12 is such an impressionable age isn't it? I think by the time you reach Secondary School, it's harder to reach a child, sadly :( Thanks for stopping by x

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  12. How wonderful. Well done to your daughter and well done to that wonderful teacher too. All I would wish for is for teachers/schools to genuinely care more about the children than they do about their statistics/targets/exam results etc. In our experience, even when we have come across good teachers, they have not had the freedom to be good teachers in the school environment because of the demands placed on them from their seniors and it is such a shame. Hence, homeschooling become our only option given J's difficulties. It always gives me hope to read about positive schooling experiences x

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    1. Hi Rebecca. I am with you on the misgivings over teachers (we've had some dodgy ones in the past!) and I also agree that teaching (sadly) is mostly about stats and targets these days. I think that this is a crying shame, teachers have such an opportunity! I take my hat off to you for home educating and I do hope it's working out for you x

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  13. How wonderful of the teacher, especially the little I'm not coping sign - that must boost confidence in itself. Xx

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  14. It always warms my heart to hear such great stories. I had some wonderful teachers in school, that have left a life long impression on me. I am your newest GFC follower, and found you via 'Welcome To The Weekend Blog Hop'. Have a wonderful weekend.
    Angie G.
    http://mycraftycollections.blogspot.com/

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  15. I am relieved for you and your daughter that she has found someone who understands her and her needs. Lovely to find you through the 'Blow Your Own Blog Horn' linky x

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  16. Good teachers are worth their weight in gold. I honestly believe they have the power to make or break a child. I had a wonderful teacher in my last year at primary school, I always remember her telling me that I had the wings and she was going to teach me how to fly! I've never forgotten that

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  17. Am so glad that the right teacher has come along to bring out the best in your daughter, it makes such an enormous difference to have someone who understands them. All children learn differently, and have different strengths and weaknesses, and it takes a great teacher to be able to work so well with them, sounds like you have lucked out this year!

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  18. Soi much has already been commented here - but i am thrilled that your daughter is now in with a jurturing and caring teacher who is finally partnering with you in helping her. It isn't rocket science to do it, so it saddens me that you and she have had years where this has been overlooked - however - she seems to be flourishing now with a teacher who believes in her - adn is skilled enough to say it to her too. Brilliant. Just what she and the teaching profession needs.

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  19. That is amazing! So glad someone noticed and understood. I'd like to think teachers notice these things, but I'm sure it's not easy in a class of 30 and they only notice the 'naughty ones' and the real high achievers. It's very easy for the others to sail under the radar.

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  20. An excellent teacher (who I'm sure is not appreciated by the powers that be!) So glad there is someone help her out and hopefully set her on the road to really enjoying school!

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