I am angry.
I am at my son’s home. My daughter-in-law Sophie, has just returned from taking my grandson Thomas to his third day of year one.
There were tears at drop-off. Sophie is now upset. She is sad for Thomas and upset about his experienced teacher’s response.
I am fuming when I hear about his teacher’s response to his tears.
How could she!
How dare she!
‘What’s wrong’, she demands of Sophie and Thomas. When Sophie explains that Thomas is having trouble separating, the teacher counters indignantly, ‘What can I do?’
‘She didn’t even crouch down to Thomas’s level’. My daughter-in-law is astounded.
I want to march to the principal’s office and complain. I am so annoyed.
Fortunately, reason prevails and my husband and son speak to the potential problem with doing that at this early stage. The teacher could treat Thomas even more unfavourably, I reluctantly acknowledge.
A decision is made to document the interaction and wait and see. Maybe it was an aberration for the teacher, a bad day, personal problems spilling over to work.
But still! Don’t all teachers understand young children and their emotional development? Isn’t that part of their studies? Yes it is! As a trained teacher and having taught this age group I know it is foundational teacher training knowledge.
I know that positive early school years are vital for how children perceive schooling. I know that young children:
- are unique and some are more sensitive
- are still learning to self-regulate
- after a long holiday may miss their parents, miss their home, miss the relaxed pace of holidays, miss their toys, miss the freedom of choice at home, and miss their exciting make-believe play and creative ideas
- take time to adjust to change: new teacher, prep to year 1, new classroom; different students in class.
How dare she thwart or burst his vibrant bubble!
People who know me know my calm demeanour. It takes a lot to light my fuse. My fuse has been lit! I need to vent. I peel back the layers of feelings underneath my anger and active listen to myself.
I am sad. So sad.
I am disappointed. So disappointed.
I am shocked. Shocked that teachers still exist like this.
I am fearful. Yes fearful of what other interactions might eventuate. And fearful of a potential dampening of a love of learning.
I am unsettled and feel helpless thinking of other teary children starting school.
Surely this teacher and her lack of compassion to a young child and parent is in the minority and her interaction on that particular day was an anomaly.
Nonetheless, if it is not an exception it is my grandson who inhabits her classroom this year. It is my grandson who daily will bear witness to interactions that lack the nuance and skill of understanding and empathising with the world of a child.
My beautiful, confident, intelligent, kind, curious little grandson who joyfully loves to learn.
My heart aches.
(Written anonymously with names changed).