Today is 5th October 2018. It is also World Teachers’ Day. I often believe that for whatever reason, teachers do not get the recognition and appreciation they so often deserve. I would like to give an insight into how hard teachers work. It is not a 9am-3pm job Monday to Friday, for 39 weeks of the year. No, there is a lot more to it than that. It is a vocation and not just a job of convenience. Being a teacher at any level takes an incredible amount of commitment and determination. Good teachers need to be team players and have excellent people skills. They are after all, working closely with their pupils and students, fellow teachers, support staff and not forgetting, parents and families. There is also an aspect of multi-agency interaction, to provide the best for everyone in the school community, particularly focusing on developing the pupils and students. Then there is the lesson planning and strategies, the self-evaluation, adapting and implementing good practice, monitoring and assessing pupil progress and the list goes on. It’s also worth remembering that every child is different, but all are equally important. Therefore, there are elements of differentiation required in the provision of education. Teaching is never going to be ‘one size fits all’.
I would like to share my experiences as a parent and how the school she belongs to, have worked so hard to accommodate her needs and provide the best learning experience for her. My daughter was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay after her 1st Birthday and struggled with many aspects of childhood, missing several of the key milestones. As you can understand, it was very difficult for my husband and I to imagine how she would cope in a mainstream school nursery when she turned 3. She still had significant delays in mobility and social and communication skills, however we were very lucky that our daughter was under the care of an excellent consultant paediatrician. When we conveyed our wishes and concerns about our daughter attending a local mainstream school, the paediatrician was able to reassure us that with the right support, there was no reason why our daughter would not be able to attend. So, referrals were made, paperwork completed and after numerous meetings with the school, various health professions and the local authority, we were able to send our daughter to our choice of school nursery at the beginning of the summer term after her 3rd Birthday. The support we received from the school before our daughter even started was second to none. Not once were we made to feel like our child was a problem or too difficult to manage. The teachers and support staff always went above and beyond to give us a warm welcome and help us feel like an integral part of the school community. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, our daughter has made incredible progress as she has gone from nursery, through Reception, Year 1 and now Year 2. Their invaluable support has never wavered, and our daughter is able to continue with her journey full of learning and development, in a very happy and caring environment. It is such a relief to watch her on the way to school with a spring in her step because she is so excited to see her friends and teachers. No longer is she clinging to us all the time because she doesn’t have the confidence to let go. In fact, most of the time we stop her for a hug goodbye before she rushes into the building, eager to participate fully in school life. A sight I must admit, we sometimes feared we would never see.
In addition to the unrelenting support they have given our daughter, they have also shown an unbelievable amount of compassion and support during my darkest days, when I was very poorly with my mental health. They didn’t underestimate my distress or the painful challenges I was facing, and they did whatever they could to help me. I will always be grateful that they have stood by me and never gave up on who I saw as a needy parent. I was not judged by them but encouraged and reassured as I sought help and began treatment. I am not fully better yet as recovery from mental illness is not a quick fix but a long and challenging journey, often with setbacks. Although I am making good progress, there remains a fair way to go yet. However, with the patience, faith and belief of the teachers at my daughter’s school, as well as the support/associate staff, I know that I have one less thing to worry about when I get up needing to choose recovery every single day.
So finally, to teachers at my daughter’s school and everywhere else, happy National Teachers’ Day!!! And thank you!! Please keep doing what you’re doing. Society would be a much poorer place without you. 😊