Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An ode to great teachers

My son didn't have the greatest teachers last year, when he was in kindergarten. There were issues, including a mid-year replacement, and I also noticed the constant yelling at the children - particularly the boys. It became a battle in the mornings just to get my son to into the classroom.

His first days of grade one were a challenge. It quickly became clear that he couldn't really read, and in frustration he simply refused to do any work at all. My older children had never gone through anything like this, so we were at a loss.

His teacher, though, reassured us. She was concerned about the lack of work and certainly needed to address it, but didn't think that there was really anything wrong with him. She figured out that he was embarrassed about not reading well, and had chosen to give up. She arranged for the extra help that he needed, and had total confidence that he would catch up and be brilliant. Overall, she also kept the class engaged, and because of that was able to maintain discipline without getting frustrated and yelling.

It paid off. My son, who in October couldn't read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", is now reading at grade level and LOVES reading more advanced books to the class. His math is amazing, and his confidence has sky-rocketed. One of his best friends has had a similar turn-around.

What would have happened if he had a poor teacher instead - one who wouldn't have given him the attention, or had the faith in him, or simply been frustrated and seen him as a problem child? I shudder to think about it.

Thank you, Mrs. Miller!

1 comment:

%Shocked% said...

Wow, that IS awesome! I wish I had a teacher like your son had/(has?). Even one would have made a world of a difference. I didn't have trouble with the school work per se, just motivation. Naturally, my grades suffered tremendously and until this day I haven't figured out how I didn't fail even one class throughout all of elementary and high school.

What bothers me is that there are pathetically few teachers that are willing to help children who aren't star students. I've come across rebbeim and teachers who have abysmal communication skills, no "funny bone" for dealing with young children and have no connection with the parents other than to report bad behavior. I find it hard to believe that school administrators actually screen some of the teachers that I've seen.

And we wonder why the US, on the world's ranking of quality of education, is plunging...

I'm jealous of your son's Mrs. Miller and I know a lot of others who are as well.