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:
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