It is difficult being a teacher as well as a parent. Sometimes you find yourself in conversations where a bit of verbal teacher bashing begins. You know the ones, the conversation where one parent starts by saying they think their child’s teacher is rubbish, or they don’t like them- and then everyone else jumps on board with their own stories of dissatisfaction. It can quickly get out of hand.
Often I am not open about being a teacher until I feel comfortable with a group of people because when this conversation starts I find myself in a difficult situation.
On one hand I know the complexities of working in a classroom with 30 personalities all rubbing against each other on a daily basis (not to mention all the personalities of the parents of those 30 little people). I know the juggle of making sure you connect with each child each day. I know the strengths and weaknesses of all my students but at times struggle to see progress despite my best efforts. I know that of all the minutes I spend with those children over the year, their parents can only ever glimpse at the reality of being in my classroom.
On the other hand I understand that parents need to express their dislike or dissatisfaction, it is human nature. All teachers will make mistakes or (god forbid) try and fail to get along with some students they meet over the years. They might not even appear to be overly friendly every time you drop by for a chat. It is unrealistic to expect that all teachers will be brilliant all the time.
So when I, as a parent get caught up in a conversation of verbal teacher bashing I have some choices. Be silent, join in or defend the teacher. I often find myself defending the teacher. This often does not go down well, but at least I can look that teacher in the eye next time I talk to them. And besides, I know what it is like to be a little bit crap at this teaching gig, and know that I have been the topic of that verbal teacher bashing conversation.
This brings me to the core reason for this blog post- I want to say thank you to my son’s teacher.
My son had not embraced the reading journey until now. I have thousands of books in my house and have always tried to read with him. But since he was small he has rejected my reading advances. He never wanted to sit and listen or get a book for himself and sit with it. I was worried (and a bit disappointed).
All this changed this year, year 3. My son’s teacher decided to have a competition. A competition between the other year 3 classes to read as many pages as they could. Each child logged their pages and the classroom display showed the total number of pages they had read. I am sure at the beginning my son did a bit of cheating. He also wanted to read to his little sister and include in his page count the pages of the baby books that only contain 1 word. But as the term went on, he began to challenge himself. So far this term, he has read the Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. He has devoured a stack of other junior novels, and he has enjoyed himself.
I finally have a reader. Someone who asks me to go and get the next installment from the bookshop while he is at school.
I know that all his teachers have contributed to this change, but the penny finally dropped last term.
I cannot say thank you to his teacher enough for this gift.
All teachers have successes during the year, they may not be with every child and not all parents will see those successes but they will be there.
Be kind teachers and parents, we are all doing a difficult job- raising and educating a generation.