I remember standard five being one of my favourite school years. Activities leading up to leaving primary school generally included making promises to keep friendships, finding out that the boy you liked the whole year liked you too and getting teachers to write in your “keep-sake” book. I clearly remember standing in my favourite teacher’s class, Mrs Pullen. (She was also the boys favourite teacher but for a different reason.) She took such time to draw a picture in my book and then kindly wrote: ‘You’re going to be famous. I look forward to seeing you on the big screen.’
What a nice thing to say. Little did she know that I would find fame (but not fortune) in my vocation although I did not follow my stars into show biz. Being a teacher is like being famous. You can’t go anywhere without someone calling out your name. What parents don’t often realise is that the same driving force that makes children bolt from your side into the path of an on-coming teacher, drives them to tell their teacher anything about their lives that they feel will gain their teacher’s favour. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes your private most embarrassing moments are blurted out because your child just had to get them off their chest.
Teachers who use the holistic approach to teaching (and don’t just transfer information) will often get to hear if there has been a domestic in the house, if you get take-out more than you cook, if you’re on a diet or if your husband’s “toots” smell. A personal example to illustrate my point: We were talking about different media sources and their uses one morning. The sweetest little creature put up her hand and said: ” My mommy doesn’t like my Daddy watching TV ’cause he only likes watching programmes where the people have no clothes on.” Now some would think this little girl would have been laughed at but surprisingly, I had to do little damage control as large percentage of the class were nodding and wanted to tell their own stories regarding the matter. I’m sure there would be fewer parents at parent evenings if they knew what some teachers knew and now that I’m a parent, I think home schooling as a possibility.
There’s also the positive side to this “teacher telling”. There have been several cases where children were removed from abusive homes because an abused child had seen that others trust their teacher with information that is not usually shared. I remember trembling when a beautiful little girl told and showed me the results of her father “accidentally” throwing her down the stairs. This being one of several accounts which she gave me which I was able to document and then give a statement to the police. She was removed from their care and placed into a loving home.
My intention in this post is not to cause paranoia among mothers. Rest assured with all the funny embarrassing stories teachers get to listen to, there are twice as many “my mom’s the greatest because…” stories. Plus, there are obviously always those children who never say anything inappropriate, clearly just like your child and mine. There is no need to worry!!