Good teachers can change the world

My son’s teacher has a reputation.

Last year my little man emerged from his half hour meet the teacher session with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.  Simply uttering the surname of his new teacher evoked random high fives from other parents within earshot.  This thirty minute glimpse into the future was enough to see us through the entire eight week break without a moment’s hesitation about heading into a new school year.

My son has a teacher who knows him.

By the end of week one of first term his teacher had spent enough time with him to work out the kind of kid he is, what makes him tick, and more importantly, what lights a fire in his belly.  He has then used that information to teach him in a way that he knows will hold his interest.

My son has a teacher who nurtures his passion.

From day one the football banter began, and has developed into an ongoing conversation that includes my ten year old and his thirty something teacher addressing each other using the nicknames of old football legends. 

My son has a teacher who cares about him.

There have been a few instances where I know my son has been a bit flat or unwell and all it takes is a kind word from the teacher to lift him up.

My son has a teacher who believes in him.

While my son is an inherently kind, empathetic young man who cares deeply about other people, he is also a ten year old boy.  So when he laughs a little too loudly or a little too long with his mates instead of concentrating on the task at hand, when he joins in a dare a little too enthusiastically, and even when he googles “exploding cats” and tries to argue his way out of it by claiming that is the name of a new band and he is “researching” them, his teacher is there beside him, calmly guiding him back on track, believing in the good, kind young man he knows him to be.

My son has a teacher who challenges him.

He sends him home with twenty vocab words instead of fifteen.  He asks him math problems he knows he will have to think about to solve.  He cajoles him out of his safe, happy comfort zone, encouraging, and gently pushing him further, urging him to test his wings, so that he will one day be able to spread them and soar, all the while walking beside him like a safety net, ready to catch him if he stumbles.

My son’s teacher has favourites.

Everyone knows the favourite students always get special treatment.  The teacher is nicer to them, they can joke around with the teacher more, and they receive more positive attention.

My son thinks he is the favourite. His table partner thinks she is the teacher’s favourite.  The child on the opposite table is convinced it is him.

In fact, if you question them, every single child in his class will proudly declare themselves the favourite.  That’s because they are.  He makes them all feel special.  He listens to all of their stories.  He has time for all of them.

My son’s teacher has a reputation.

For being the best.

Because of this, my son’s teacher has a class of students who adore him.  They chant his name, and in their sing song voices loudly proclaim that he is the best teacher in the school.  Their parents do too (although not in song): in conversations over coffee, at school pick up, at sports training.  It is universally understood.

My son has an inspirational teacher.

Being a teacher is not just what he does, it is who he is. This class of children will become adults, who will always remember how he believed in them, encouraged them.  These children may not remember everything he has said, but they will never forget how he made them feel.

I wish this sort of teacher for every child.

Learning can happen in any classroom.  Magic happens in this one.

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