Little acts of heroism from teachers

(146 Posts)
StabInTheDark Tue 20-Aug-13 23:10:12

I just read an article about the series Educating Yorkshire and it talked about how the program would show the nation the little acts of heroism teachers perform on a daily basis.

When exH and I separated, DD (15 at the time) found out in a pretty rubbish way and a few days later one of her close friends passed away. She was understandably pretty distraught and lost it a bit at school and had a panic attack. Lovely teacher cradled her on the floor of the toilets until she calmed down, took her to her office and gave her hot chocolate and talked to her for a good hour until I could get there. Still grateful today.

Another teacher stuck her neck out for her when she wanted to change GCSE options and the head didn't approve. She knew her pupil's happiness was more important than the paperwork etc and it meant a lot to DD.

So, what is the nicest thing you've ever witnessed from a teacher? And teachers, what little acts of heroism are you proudest of? smile

Sparklysilversequins Wed 21-Aug-13 08:48:34

When ds was at school it all got very stressful and political, he has ASD and dyspraxia. A teacher working with him risked her job telling me the route to go with him and it included getting him signed off school by a doctor and then out of the school asap as he was being pretty much ignored there and the headmistress was actively campaigning for him to go to a school for kids with severe behavioural issues or a PRU where he would have been eaten alive. There was loads more and she told me quite categorically that she would be disciplined and probably lose her job if I didn't treat her advice in confidence but she couldn't sit by and see ds being treated as he was any more. She was great.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 21-Aug-13 08:56:20

DD1s teacher in year 3 who was the softest hearted woman in the world...she actually cried over "All the children that I can't help" when I thanked her for what she did for my dd....bless her she was amazing.

My DD couldn't settle in as she was new to the school...she hung back and wouldn't make friends for an entire term and was obviously unhappy...the teacher dedicated herself and went out there into that playground EVERY bloody playtime and played circle games with her and the others so that DD would get used to them,..what a hero she was.

Millais Wed 21-Aug-13 09:05:51

A teacher dived in and pulled ds1 out of the pool when he was unconscious at the bottom. My thanks to him seemed so inadequate.

JimminyBillyBob Wed 21-Aug-13 09:13:22

As a student teacher, upon finishing my placement on my last day - one (6 y/old) child teary-eyed thanked me for teaching him to be brave... I was confused and asked 'really?' and he said 'for teaching me not to be scared of the dog'.

Turns out he lived on the road to the school and watched me walk past each morning, also walking past a house a few doors down from him where a dog used to launch itself at the gate, barking, upon the slightest whiff of movement. scared the shit out of me every day I didn't even know that just steeling myself to not jump out of my skin and to carry on walking would have more of in impact than many late nights, hours of planning, endless assessments etc.

Nowhere near an act of heroism, just a little tale that came to mind smile

insanityscratching Wed 21-Aug-13 09:15:16

Dd's y3/4 teacher filled her with confidence and treated her so sensitively and learned to read her body language that dd blossomed before my eyes.
She never got tired of offering reassurance when dd was anxious (autism) or giving replacements or helping her search when dd lost her homework / pencil/ books repeatedly.She bought pencils and erasers and hair bobbles for the dip box because dd doesn't eat the sweets and chocolate that is usually in there . She went on the y5 residential and dd abseiled down a 100 foot drop despite being scared of heights because "Mrs H did it with me"
flowers Mrs H you are one of the best.

AbbyLou Wed 21-Aug-13 09:17:30

As a teacher of Y1 I have never done anything properly 'heroic' but it's the smallest things that stick in my mind.
One parent cried when I offered her two full sets of school uniform from our box of spare clothes. Her dh had recently been made redundant and they were really struggling. She wrote me a lovely card about how grateful they were and how making sure their dd looked the same as everyone else was a massive thing for them.
Last year I gave a little boy in my class ds's old PE bag complete with kit. He was so chuffed, his eyes lit up. He'd never had a PE kit before, let alone a bag with the school logo. Every adult that came into the classroom had to be shown. I took it home each weekend to wash as well because I knew if it went home with him it would never come back.

BabeRuthless Wed 21-Aug-13 09:28:21

So many teachers at ds' school have helped us. His then nursery teacher (who is now the senco) twigged ds had autism before we did and straight away put a support system in place for him. She even gave me her home phone in case I needed a chat over the summer holidays despite only knowing us for a few months. Ds is now fully statemented and thanks to her early intervention has flourished at school. I'll always be grateful to her and ds' amazing TA.

whymummywhy Wed 21-Aug-13 09:34:23

I had an amazing head of year. I was having a really tough time with family member critically ill, exams etc and nowhere to turn...he just let me cry and use his office for quiet time...it is amazing when school can be a refuge.

When I was in my first year at primary school they organised school trip that everyone wanted to go on but only 30 kids could to make it fair they all got the letters and the ones that were filled in got drawn from a hat. I was off school that week and in court giving evidence against a man in regards to sexual abuse. I never got a letter, never mind returned it, but lo and behold my name was drawn. It really helped during a shitty time.

teabagpleb Wed 21-Aug-13 09:48:48

Back when I was at school, and Section 28 had just come in, our biology teacher was covering human reproduction. Someone asked something about being gay and Section 28.

Teacher took a deep breath and said "I'm not allowed to tell you this, but what you need to know about Section 28 is it's a load of bollocks and being gay is perfectly all right and lots of people are." Standing up and saying that saved a friend's life.

At boarding school, there were a number of girls there with families they really didn't want to go home to. One I knew was paid for by grandparents because they knew or suspected her father was physically and sexually abusing her (he was), and the housemistress clearly knew it was bad at home as she spent hours on the phone making discreet efforts to ensure she was invited to stay with friends for pretty much all of the holidays. For at least three years. And let her come back to school a week early and stay in the housemistress's own flat.

Jollyb Wed 21-Aug-13 10:04:01

My teachers were great when my parents split up in the middle of my GCSEs.

sparklingstars Wed 21-Aug-13 10:09:40

The head teacher at my DC's school always remembers siblings names and asks after them. My oldest has never been at that school but the head remembers her name and asked me how she was getting on with choosing her GCSE options.
Plus, when I was taken mildly ill in the playground she arranged for another parent to give me a lift home and made me a coffee.

ruby1234 Wed 21-Aug-13 10:10:25

My DS, then about 7, was struggling with the concept of reading. He had a lovely teacher who had a bit of a soft spot for him. She found out his interests (football) and bought with her own money some football magazines and comics. She then spent a lot of time with him looking at football teams and footballers, knowing he would know the 'names' and so put things together to read the words.

She was the main reason he ever managed reading, and I am eternally grateful to her for her perseverance.

He's 22 now, and a big tough soldier, but whenever he sees her in the village he goes and says hello and they discuss football!

marzipanned Wed 21-Aug-13 10:23:02

The HT at my primary was amazing when my Mum was dying (actually, she was always amazing). I remember sitting down with her once and she made a huge list of things like haircut, dentist, that had just completely passed my Dad by and got them all booked for me.
She also made sure I had the right uniform for secondary school. She probably did a heap of other things too I can't recall.
Plus, years later I found these beautiful, supportive letters she had written to my Dad.

StabInTheDark Wed 21-Aug-13 10:26:33

I've gone a bit sniffly. These are all really, really lovely. So many wonderful teachers out there!

Mikachu Wed 21-Aug-13 10:29:35

It's so nice to see amazing teachers being recognised here! Makes a change from the usual negative press.

As a teacher, I know so many who have spent hours of their own time and so much of their own money to help the children in their class. It kind of comes with the job in a way. I've never done anything heroic, but I really enjoy teaching the children that have needs such as ADHD or Autism. I get to know the person behind the problems (whereas a few other teachers I know would have them sitting in the corridor because they're disruptive) and quite often I'll spend most of my weekend working out how to get them through the next week as easily as possible.

The main piece of advice I always give to student teachers is to make sure that every child knows that you absolutely adore them for who they are. Once they know that, half the battle is already won.

Mikachu Wed 21-Aug-13 10:43:32

Some of the loveliest things school staff do happen on residential trips.

A few years ago, one of my big, tough yr5 boys got homesick on the first evening. He cried and cried for his mum but we knew if he just lasted until the morning he would love it and would want to stay. Also, it was already 10pm, we were over an hour away from school & his mum had a toddler and wouldn't be able to come and get him.

My TA and our caretaker spent 2 hours that night sitting on his bedroom floor looking after him. The caretaker then set up his own laptop on a chair and put a film on silent so that the boy could fall asleep. The next day he was so proud he stayed and had a great time!

Helenagrace Wed 21-Aug-13 10:43:39

The HT at my DS' last school was amazing.

Another mum was being physically and emotionally abused and was controlled to the extent that the only time she was away from her husband was the 20 minute school run. The HT gave us her office every morning for a week so that me and another mum could help the mum to ring various agencies and the police. The HT tracked down women from the same heritage who had gone against their culture to leave an abusive husband so they could offer support.

The HT then let the mum leave things in her office until she had built enough clothes etc to tide them over for a few days and then she conspired with us to spirit the mum and daughter away to a refuge miles away.

She should have filed a CAF but she knew that that would trigger a SW visit and make the Dad suspicious risking more violence. Instead she put her job on the line to help us.

One amazing woman.

duchesse Wed 21-Aug-13 10:47:22

DS's amazing teachers, 2.5 years ago. DS was being ahem, difficult. refusing to apply to university Right up against the January application deadline. After months of nagging, DH and I finally nailed him to the floor on the Thursday before the Saturday evening deadline and told him he was bloody well applying whether he wanted to or not, even if he deferred later or decided not to go at all, and where was his personal statement? Turns out he had written his PS, and it was actually pretty good. He still needed a teacher's statement and once from HT (I think). The school was marvellous and pulled out all the stops, completing those documents in time and lodging them.

DS is now about to start his third year at university and is very glad he went. He's having a fab time and studying exactly what he wanted to (although due to not having worked hard enough he ended up going through clearing to a university he hadn't thought of). Can never thank his tutor enough although DS probably has not given it a second thought. Education- it's bloody wasted on the young...

DontWannaBeObamasElf Wed 21-Aug-13 10:53:19

I remember in primary school my friend moved away on the last day of term before summer. I was so upset. The headteacher took me into her office, gave me a cuddle and some sweets.

She wasn't always that nice, she ended up being sacked for bullying hmm, but that little moment was nice.

MmeLindor Wed 21-Aug-13 11:12:26

Helena
That is such an amazing story.

Cory
Did your DD get to the zoo? Good on that supply teacher

bibliomania Wed 21-Aug-13 11:19:32

Getting all teary-eyed here.

cory Wed 21-Aug-13 11:54:51

Yes, she did MmeLindor. They agreed in the end that she could come if I came to help her onto the bus and push her around and fortunately I had the next day off so was able to do just that.

Dd has had other wonderful teachers later on (and I have spent a lot of time writing thank you letters) but that one act of courage sticks in my mind: if you are already getting on in life, doing supply in a school where even the regular teachers are afraid to speak up against the head and where if you do they might never have you back: that really was courageous.

Maryz Wed 21-Aug-13 11:58:48

My kids' school has some amazing teachers (along with one fuckwit, who I would like to strangle, but overall the good faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar outweigh the bad).

ds1 was difficult in school, very difficult, culminating in an awful year where his best friend killed himself, he took up drugs and eventually was expelled.

His housemaster was wonderful. He was kind to ds throughout, even after he left the school he sent work home and made sure he sat his exams, he wrote to him afterwards and has since asked about him a lot whenever we meet.

ds2's housemaster is very similar - ds has ADHD and some behavioural issues and has been disciplined a lot. But throughout it all, this man has managed to keep ds on the straight and narrow, support him (and more importantly like him and make ds believe he likes him), and still retain ds's respect and liking. Which I think takes a special sort of person - to manage and punish a child, but still retain their respect is such a difficult line to tread.

Teachers like these (and many, many more) should be recognised by some sort of special award system.

I know parents of younger kids are obsessed concerned with academic performance, but really the good teachers are less about academics and more about role modelling and letting kids fulfil their potential in all parts of their lives.

insanityscratching Wed 21-Aug-13 12:27:09

I know parents of younger kids are obsessed concerned with academic performance, but really the good teachers are less about academics and more about role modelling and letting kids fulfil their potential in all parts of their lives.

Couldn't agree more. The teachers who have been inspirational particularly to the two with autism were the ones who weren't fixated on the academics or even the autism but were interested in the whole of them enabling them to grow socially and emotionally.

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