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

FourEyesGood Tue 20-Aug-13 23:20:19

Aw, shucks. We're just people, y'know? <drunk>

Nothing springs to mind from me, but DS's teacher fostered his enthusiasm for minerals and fossils by burying interesting stones in the school garden and encouraging him to dig. That was way above and beyond!

Your story is lovely, OP. <drunk, and on a bus> smile

SpotsDotsandFlowers Tue 20-Aug-13 23:22:26

I've had a child who has struggled all year with behaviour and effort, he's really turned it around and I have found every opportunity to 'notice' and say how proud I am, including making sure he sees me give his mum a quick thumbs up and grin at the door. Moments like that make it worth doing the job. Not heroic though, just makes me smile.

InternationalPower Tue 20-Aug-13 23:23:21

I know a child who was supported through secondary school by his teacher sourcing him a full set of school uniform from lost property and then taking it home to be washed regularly - if it went home with the child it got lost/sold sad

MmeLindor Tue 20-Aug-13 23:28:04

I knew a nursery teacher who would buy breakfast for some of her young charges, because she knew they weren't getting any at home.

Glad that your DD had a supportive teacher.

PenguinBear Tue 20-Aug-13 23:28:34

Lovely story op, glad there are teachers like that in secondary schools smile.

I remember in my class, I once had a little girl who had had the most turbulent home life. She would curl up in a tiny ball on the carpet and stay there(she was 4). Don't want to give away any details that would out me!
Sometimes she would just cry in my lap. sad
I did a lot of work with her over her time with me and it paid off smile she moved away half way through the year, the cuddle I got from her and the hug and kiss from her mum when she said goodbye meant to much, it was a very emotional goodbye for all involved.

Not me, but DS' friend collapsed in school when they were both in reception, so a year and a bit ago, he stopped breathing, nobody knew why. The teacher did CPR until the ambulance arrived, while other teachers and office staff kept the class calm, and without the teacher, he could have died easily. It turned out he'd had an allergic reaction. She was a true hero and saved his life. He's a wonderful boy, and I saw how terrified his parents were, and the teacher was nominated for a local prize thing- and won, she totally deserved it.

StabInTheDark Tue 20-Aug-13 23:29:10

Ahh they're lovely!! FourEyes that is so sweet.

Spots but that's why it's heroic, because it probably means the world to that child!

International that is so sad. sad That teacher is fab.

Faverolles Tue 20-Aug-13 23:30:27

The Headteacher at dc's school has gone above and beyond the call of duty so many times for my family, I wouldn't know how to start to thank her enough.
She gave me her personal mobile number when mil was dying, offering to take all the dc to her house if we needed her to.
She helped hugely when ds2 was having massive behavioural issues at home (we later found out that he reacted badly to a medicine he was taking) even though there were no issues at school.
She was so supportive to the dc when dh had a stroke earlier this year.
She stuck her neck out for ds1 when he was being bullied, even though he was at secondary school and no longer at primary.
She offered me a job (which I think she invented) when money was tight following dh's stroke.

She's a star. Never met a teacher like her before.

Masterchuff Tue 20-Aug-13 23:30:28

My form tutor at school, when he found out I was self harming, let me use his office whenever things got too much, encouraged me to call the Samaritans, brought me pictures his children had drawn, arranged a councellor, He was the only nonjudgmental person in my life at the time and he saved me in so many ways.

StabInTheDark Tue 20-Aug-13 23:31:03

These are all so uplifting!!

MyNameIsLola Tue 20-Aug-13 23:35:57

A teacher at special school where I worked was just amazing.

One little boy (5/6 years old) was badly neglected at home. Everyday she bought bread and fruit so he could have breakfast, made sure he ate before he went home, bought a coat for him to wear in the playground as he would only have a t-shirt in the depths of winter sad

Thankfully, this boy is now with a very loving foster family, and a lot if that is also down to the teacher being very persistent.

OldRoan Wed 21-Aug-13 00:44:13

Six years after leaving, one of my secondary teachers organised me teaching work experience at a nearby primary school (needed different holiday dates to my LEA) and then let me stay in his house (compete with wife and children - nothing dodgy) so I could walk in each day. Above and beyond the call of duty, although not as heroic as some of these stories!

unsure2124 Wed 21-Aug-13 01:38:31

My secondary teacher was lovely, I was having huge problems during secondary and she allowed me to sit in her room for hours after school. We didn't talk much, she just worked and I did homework or studying, but those hours of peace I loved. She knew there were problems but she never tried to pry, just listened if I occasionally said something. One day I did manage to tell her something very upsetting and she did listen and offered very good advice. I gave her a card and a wallet card when I left school. I've met her a couple of times since, and she's still the same lovely person.

BadRoly Wed 21-Aug-13 01:54:06

Ds1 really struggled with his behaviour for for his first few years at school. Violent outbursts if situations escalated.

The school he was in were brilliantly supportive and were doing everything they could to successfully reduce the outbursts and teach him to manage his behaviour.

One afternoon I arrived to collect him (and dd1) to be greeted by a TA and escorted to the head's office as ds had lost it. When I arrived the HT was say on the floor with ds in a restraint but gently rocking him and quietly singing lullabies.

I was very upset that he'd needed to be restrained (again) but so touched by the way the HT was doing it. She really cared.

The upshot is that now, thanks to a lot of hard work from a number if teachers, TAs, Sencos and outside agencies, ds no longer requires any additional support or intervention - they're all heroes in my eyes!

Sorry, that was really long.

BOF Wed 21-Aug-13 01:54:32

My teacher in secondary school was brilliant with me- I was so neurotic and self-absorbed, but she was incredibly patient and caring with me, even when I must have bored the tits off her, whining on through the lunch hours that she gave up to listen to me banging on with my teenage angst. Miss Seaward, I salute you!

milkdud Wed 21-Aug-13 05:00:18

I will always remember the teacher who told us "You are all incredibly important people", we were a school in a very poor town, a lot of kids went home to abusive households, most of us had very little faith in ourselves, but he made us feel like we were worthy of getting out of there and doing something with our lives. Might seem small, but he was heroic in my teenaged eyes.

LoremIpsum Wed 21-Aug-13 05:26:53

As a young man, my dad was sent to be the teacher in a small town in the north west of Australia. One of the first things he did was to desegregate the school, until he arrived the aboriginal children had been taught in a separate room. He stood up to threats to run him out of town, to snakes being set in his room, guns being waved.

It was the actions of teachers like him that practically, rather than legislatively, ended desegregation in many outback towns.

Love reading threads like this

Grumpla Wed 21-Aug-13 07:06:45

My art teacher realised I was bunking off several other lessons on a regular basis, including PE as I used to get horribly bullied in the basically unsupervised changing rooms.

She told me there was no point wasting my time hanging around the bike sheds and let me appear in the art rooms whenever I wanted to get on with my coursework.

My PE teacher colluded with her and issued me with satisfactory reports for the rest of my time at school despite the fact I never turned up for another PE lesson.

The art rooms became my refuge, and I fucking needed one. I think I probably would have fallen apart completely without that. I certainly wouldn't have stayed in school.

heronsfly Wed 21-Aug-13 07:08:31

My ds1 was hurt playing football at school, our old Head teacher put him in his car, drove to get me, drove us to the hospital and waited hours with me until the leg was x rayed and plastered, then drove us home.
Several weeks later he did it again with ds3, broken collar bone that time though grin.

TobyLerone Wed 21-Aug-13 07:12:33

DS had a lovely, lovely reception teacher. She reminded me of Miss Honey.

He really struggled to settle in at school. On the first parents' eve, she brought the headmistress in too, who said "I've just never seen such a sad little boy." It broke my heart. I sat and snivelled while they both worked out a plan to help him socialise and settle properly. And he did.

He's now almost 14, at grammar school, popular and sporty and clever. I wish I knew where his reception teacher was now, so I could thank her.

SweepTheHalls Wed 21-Aug-13 07:22:28

It is so nice that some parents appreciate what we are trying to dosmile

cory Wed 21-Aug-13 08:19:59

I always remember a supply teacher dd had. She wasn't a very good teacher and the children didn't like her very much. But when the school remembered the evening before the big trip to the zoo that they had "forgotten" to book the minibus with disabled access and gave her the job to phone us up to let dd know she wouldn't be coming (bastards! let the supply teacher do the dirty job!) and she heard dd sobbing in the background, she went back and told them they'd have to find a solution. In her position, that must have taken some courage.

InternationalPower Wed 21-Aug-13 08:32:48

I'm currently working in a school, after 20 years in the real world wink

I have been amazed to discover just how much the teachers (and TAs) know and care about the children as individuals. I didn't think it would be possible with 30 children in the class. Some don't like parents very much! but they all care so much about the kids.

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 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

That is such an amazing story.

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.

FlyMetotheMoon0 Wed 21-Aug-13 14:09:21

(NC as post will out self)
During a placement I worked with 2 ladies (a Ta and a teacher) who really went above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis to ensure the children in their care were happy and safe. The whole team were pretty fantastic but the example that these 2 set will stay with me for a very long time
Mrs Robinson and Miss Barrett you are amazing smile

YompingJo Wed 21-Aug-13 14:18:16

In my first or second year of teaching I had a little girl who was very introverted, and sometimes couldn't cope with assemblies due to the number of people and the noise. Her mum brought her into the class one morning and told me she'd had her sight tested and needed to wear glasses all the time but was far too self-conscious to wear them at school.

I went to the pound shop that evening and bought 30 pairs of cheapo silly sunglasses and the next day me and the 29 other children in the class spent the day wearing silly shades so that she wouldn't stand out! She wore her glasses all day and was fine wearing them after that :-)

bibliomania Wed 21-Aug-13 14:23:22

Aw, that's lovely Yomping. And spending £30 was quite a generous thing to do!

OldRoan Wed 21-Aug-13 14:30:02

Yomping that is such an inspired idea. I'm about to start my NQT year and I hope if I ever have a situation like any of these I'll be able to respond as some of these teachers have.

Hulababy Wed 21-Aug-13 14:32:48

Such a lovely thread. I was a secondary school teacher for several years and now a TA in an infant school. Not done anything I'd consider heroic but I have had many delightful letters, comments and cards that have brought me to tears at times from parents and children, thanking me. I do care deeply for all the children in my charge and will do whatever I can to make their time at school easier, and where possible do something to ease time out of school where needed. A teacher and TAs job is never just about the classroom Ime.

For my own dd I have had nothing but prises for her school. She's just left this summer for secondary so many a thank you letter was written.

Dd's school really did go over and above last academic year. Her teacher died unexpectedly and suddenly in the last week of the summer holidays and school dealt with everything so well, despite their own grief which must have been huge. Within 24 hours a new teacher was found and all parents informed. They supported the girls in those first few days, weeks and months brilliantly and got them all through their entrance exams at the end of that term and everything else smoothly.

The supply teacher they found at such short notice was amazing for the girls. She was partially retired, but she stepped up to the role for two terms. She didn't alter their late teachers room at all, not Til the girls were ready to change things. That first day she was so gentle with them, gave them time to cry and to remember, and just gently looked after them so that they were back and ready to learn again together. It can't have been an easy role to take on, but she was perfect for it and the girls adored her for it. She was also an excellent teacher who helped them all achieve. We thanked her on a number of occasions and I know most other parents did too.

InternationalPower Wed 21-Aug-13 14:37:32

Teachers spending your in money to support children, admirable though it is, do you really need to do that? I am a state school bursar and there is money in the school budget for the kind of expenses you describe-or there should be.

I would delighted if our staff identifie d and arranged these things, but horrified if they felt they needed to fundthem themselves

CinnabarRed Wed 21-Aug-13 14:38:17

My father killed himself on Easter Sunday in the holidays immediately before my GCSEs.

I should have spent my Easter break revising, but of course I didn't.

On the first day of school, my form teacher pretended to forget the register and sent me to the office to fetch it. While I was gone she explained what had happened to my classmates so I didn't have to find the words myself.

My first exam, the same day, was Art Practical. The theme was 'Celebration' hmm. My art teacher saw me walk in empty handed - no prep, no planning, no test drawings, nothing. Without a word he led me to a still-life he'd arranged before I arrived, a set of water colours he'd bought himself and some art paper. I spent the next two days painting his still life; without it I wouldn't have passed because my head was empty of everything other than grief.

My Home Ec teacher wrote me a letter, posted to my home address telling me it wasn't my fault.

My headmistress wrote to all 4 of my exam boards to explain the situation and ask for dispensations.

My French teacher, knowing I was struggling to even speak sometimes, left a cup of orange squash on the chair outside the oral exam room for me. I assumed she'd done it for everyone, but when I mentioned it to my friends I was the only one.

My games teacher washed my PE kit when my mum wasn't up to it.

Heros and heroines all.

bibliomania Wed 21-Aug-13 14:49:50

Dear God, Cinnabar, what a horrible situation. I'm so glad they rallied around you.

toomuchtoask Wed 21-Aug-13 15:02:14

Cinnabar. That has just had me in floods. I hope I would step up to the mark with my class if something so difficult happened to one of them.
I am sorry you had to go through that when you were so young.

NameoftheRose Wed 21-Aug-13 15:02:41

Two small things but really made a difference.

My youngest son is an introvert, which I didn't realise when he was only 5! His primary teacher told me that sometimes he would crawl under the big table, right into the middle and spend some time just sitting there. She figured that he just needed some time to himself and let him do it.

Now he is (much) older I realise that he probably found all day in a class of noisy kids overwhelming and needed some time out. No other school problems but I think her understanding made it bearable for him.

My middle son always struggled with school, from day one. He was very intrinsically motivated, stars, charts etc. meant nothing to him but he loved to learn if it was what he wanted to learn. What a pain for teachers. One of his primary teachers told me she'd worked out he came to school to see his friends but went home to learn.
As he got older the situation didn't improve. He wasn't disruptive, just wasn't there if you see what I mean. I remember one parent/teacher interview in particular where the teacher said "Ah yes, your son. Never going to be a high-flier, is he?" Very discouraging having him written off like that.

One day, out of the blue, I had a call from one of his teachers who said he just wanted me to know what a pleasure it was teaching my son. Every few years, he had a pupil come along like my boy, who sees the world in a different, original way and he found them a real pleasure to teach. He hoped I appreciated my son and his "special qualities" grin.

Just today I had a text from my "different, original" son, telling me he had achieved 100% in his final exam in the medical field he's been studying. What's more he's been struggling with the most dreadful health problems which meant that one night recently, he discharged himself from Addenbrookes so he could take an exam the next day. Which he also passed.

So thank you to all you teachers who see the individual child. Really, a big, big thanks.

toomuchtoask Wed 21-Aug-13 15:08:17

There are a few teachers I remember really well for their kindness.

One was my PE teacher. During my GCSE PE she knew I was finding the mix of boisterous lads difficult. She made a point of always making sure I was ok. She truly, truly cared. I was gutted when she went on maternity. I also remember she had a massive impact on my confidence when she told me my GCSE coursework was A level standard.

Another amazing teacher was fantastic with my brother. He was a school truant. He had major issues with school. His PE teacher was incredible with him and so understanding. He even came to the house to see him and talk to him. Such a good guy who sadly died.

IamMummyhearmeROAR Wed 21-Aug-13 15:15:45

I have many former pupils who have found me on Facebook and said really lovely things about the impact I've had on their lives. Makes my heart swell. Some have overcome huge obstacles to achieve great things and I'm very proud that they count me as a part of the process.

BooMeowson Wed 21-Aug-13 15:26:01

CinnebarReds, another person in tears here, gosh

Rolf Wed 21-Aug-13 15:33:08

My DS lost a baby tooth on a residential school trip. His teacher made sure the tooth fairy came smile

DNephew missed a lot of year 10 and 11 with anxiety problems and didn't get the grades he was hoping for. His Mum (seperated from DBro and seemed to blame DN somehow) went beserk just outside the school gates when he told her, DN's history teacher came out and absolutely tore into her, saying that her son's happiness and wellbeing should mean far more to her than the results on a piece of paper, and couldn't she see the damage she was doing to his confidence by treating him like that? It was the first time someone outside of DB's side of the family had stood up for DN and gave him the confidence to move out of his Mum's house and in with DB. He's 21 now and hasn't looked back. I don't know what emotional damage he'd have if he'd stayed with his Mum and thank that history teacher so much for helping him out of that environment.

RiversideMum Wed 21-Aug-13 16:30:58

One of the teachers at DD's school went prom dress shopping with a girl whose mum was in prison and who had a completely rubbish life at home. The school also sorted out funding for the dress. The girl had tears in her eyes when she told me that.

DontActuallyLikePrunes Wed 21-Aug-13 16:54:38

What a wonderful thread.
<sniff, something in my eye I think>

FlyMetotheMoon0 Wed 21-Aug-13 16:56:35

Nominated for classics, it would be such a shame to lose all these lovely stories

BackforGood Wed 21-Aug-13 16:59:43

Thanks for starting this - so many lovely stories smile

fourferrets Wed 21-Aug-13 17:22:21

one teacher springs to mind:

daughter (years ago) in tears in playground as she was accused of making up stories when she blurted out about sexual abuse from another pupil (she was telling the truth as was subsequently proven). This teacher took her part, took her to medical room, set her in "the magic chair which soaks up tears" (his words), and took time to listen. The whole story came out..

same teacher (a few monthe back) re my adhd (& hard to manage) son. He came out with big grin from ear to ear. I asked him why he was in such a good mood. he said "mr M told me that I had been very calm today, and said "well done"". Yes! a teacher who notices the effort behind "good behaviour" & doesn't just criticise the less good behaviour!

same teacher (again years ago) re my terrified of water ASD son. Swimming was part of the P5 curriculum and my child was terrified. Teacher told him to practice by lying in bath in inch of water, and each night let the water get a little higher until he could cope with the feel of water on his face. He allowed him to sit at edge of pool with just toes in week after week until he was "ready" to try. Thus he learned to swim (and also to shower without a screaming match). He will never like the water, but he did conquer his terror of it - all through the patience of one inspired teacher

EvilTwins Wed 21-Aug-13 17:24:39

I bet few teachers would call themselves "heroic" but one if the things I'm most proud of is this...

Lovely girl at school had been through hell. Mum had died under suspicious circumstances when the girl was in yr 10, and Dad had been arrested but then released. In Yr 12, she got a main part in the school play. Her confidence bloomed and we were all very proud of her. She wasn't much of a talker, just got on with things. SENCO had been involved, as had SS because things were difficult at home. Dad took drugs, she had to look after her brothers and so on. On the last night of the school play, she wasn't herself, but she played her part brilliantly, then went home. The following day at school, she sought me out to tell me that the reason she was out of sorts the previous evening was because she'd been home between school and the play and had argued with her dad and he'd hit her. I persuaded her to talk to the police, which she did. Turns out SS had been trying to get her to make a disclosure for over a year, but she was scared. Being in the play had given her the confidence to speak out. We managed to arrange alternative accommodation with another family member. Another teacher drove her home and waited outside her house whilst she got her things and that was it - things got considerably better from that day on. She went on to get AAC in her A Levels and is now at university. I saw her recently- she brought her passport form in for me to sign and she's such a confident, lovely young woman now.

I have something wet in my eye.
There really are some exceptionally kind people in the world. Thank goodness that so many of them choose to be teachers.

MrsHowardRoark Wed 21-Aug-13 17:39:03

I've had many great and inspiring teachers but there is one I will never forget.

My mum died when I was in primary school and I was collected one day and told by my dad. I didn't return to school because I was put into temporary foster care in another county.

My class teacher arranged for me to spend an afternoon at her home so she could say a proper goodbye and show me the cards and gifts from my classmates.

I have never forgotten her kindness when I needed it most.

CissyMeldrum Wed 21-Aug-13 17:45:56

DS1's year 4 teacher ,was the first teacher to tell me that my son was a lovely little boy ,she saw past his asd and his challenging behaviour have to admit I cried at parents evening but this time for happy reasons.
This year she is going to be ds2's year 2 teacher ,we are very happy.

mindyourownbusiness Wed 21-Aug-13 19:31:29

When my son was at primary school about thirty years ago! there was a little boy in his class who was always very scruffy looking and obviously wasn't being cared for properly.
One morning his and my son's lovely teacher took me to one side and said it was his birthday and had asked him what he got/was getting and he didn't even know it was his birthday sad so was obviously getting nothing. She gave me a couple of pounds and said would l mind going out buying a dinky car and a card from her but could l say it was from my son as he had very few friends and my son seemed to be his BF. sad.
l used to be big on baking in those days so I made him a birthday cake aswell with candles and took in his card and present wrapped and a few toys of DSs that he no longer played with (we were very poor at the time so couldn't buy him anything myself) at lunchtime.
That lovely teacher was so grateful to me and had a tear in her eye and we both really struggled to sing Happy Birthday with the class tbh blush . I will never forget her or that little boys face when his birthday 'arrived'.
I was looking at some old school pics of my DCs a while ago and he is in one of them and l often wonder what became of him , we moved away from the area when my son was eight a few years later. I could actually sob now thinking about how he must have felt when on top of everything else in his life his best friend disappeared.
That lovely teacher will have kept a good eye on him though and helped him in any way she could , of that l'm sure so hopefully he will have been ok.

MissBetseyTrotwood Wed 21-Aug-13 20:03:53

A (fierce) member of SLT at my school took home and washed the clothes of one of our students every week. The student was being looked after by his grandparents while his remaining parent was terminally ill and while they were lovely, caring people as a teenage boy his clothes and personal hygiene needed rather more attention than they were able to give.

One of my former pupils (about 12 years ago now) was 13 when she confided in me that she was pregnant. I eventually calmed her down, took her to the school counsellor and CP officer and we all met with her mum as the news was broken to her. She went on to have an abortion and in the following weeks I let her sit with me in my classroom over lunch time while things were still too much for her. I ran into her with her toddler in a local park with my own children recently and it was great to see her as a happy and confident young mum now.

mindyourownbusiness Wed 21-Aug-13 20:11:06

Ahh MissBetsy that's lovely , how alone and frightened that young girl would have felt without you. I bet she thinks of you often with great appreciation smile.
Also the 'fierce' teacher who did that for the young lad , it's often a front isn't it when people seem like that on the outside but they often have a heart of gold underneath.

Nope, it is no good, I am still teary at all these lovely acts of genuine kindness and love.

MissBetseyTrotwood Wed 21-Aug-13 21:44:00

I know. It's all a front. The teacher's rather fit too, which helps. wink

Love your story of the dinky toy, but sad too.

Greenandcabbagelooking Wed 21-Aug-13 21:45:11

My ballet teachers were both amazing. A lot of time spent sobbing on their shoulders. S and M, you are amazing.

grants1000 Wed 21-Aug-13 21:51:30

A TA my son had for three years during primary school, y2, 4 & y. DS is very dyslexic & she worked so hard with him and was so kind a caring, she always let him vent his frustrations with written work but pushed him enough to always try and gave him a huge amount of self belief & confidence in who he is and what he can do. He once flung some written work across the classroom & stormed out the classroom into the rain & across the field, she ran after him & let him shout his frustration all out & took him to get dry in the staff room & made him hot chocolate. When the SATS results came out we went to find her after school to tell her that he'd got L4 in reading & writing, she jumped up & down screaming with joy and hugged us all.

On the last day she handed him a written letter which told him that he could go out into the big wide world and be great because she knew he was brilliant! She also gave us her email & phone number & told us to call any time if he had any worries at secondary school because she would always be there to help.

borninastorm Wed 21-Aug-13 22:10:53

Just last Christmas when ds1 was working towards his final a-levels I got an email from his music teacher expressing her concern for him. She'd noticed this his 'smile had faded lately' and he wasn't putting in the effort he normally did. She thought there was something wrong with him and feared he would fail his a-levels.

Meanwhile, I thought he was just being a class A teenage knob!

After her email I sat down with him and it came to light that he was suffering PTSD from a nasty car crash a couple of months previous.

Because of his teacher's concern my son got the help he needed (counsellor, anti depressants, etc), our relationship got repaired and with support from all his teachers (and me!) he managed to pass all his a-levels and get into university to study exactly what he wanted.

I will always be grateful to that teacher who saw what I couldn't and went out of her way to help him.

PS. I have sobbed my way through this thread!

itsMYNutella Wed 21-Aug-13 22:13:58

Wow, this thread is amazing! I may have shed a few tears at some of the stories <sob>

minitoot Wed 21-Aug-13 22:45:36

I've met primary school teachers who had to walk to some pupils' houses and collect them and bring them to school, because the parents wouldn't get them there. Respect.

icecubed Wed 21-Aug-13 22:50:04

International my HT and one of the pastoral teachers have done this at my DS school more than once fantastic

Noggie Wed 21-Aug-13 22:57:14

I remember being the only one on my class to not pass a gymnastics exam. My teacher kept me back after lunch and told me how proud he was of how hard I had tried. I remember feeling a bit embarrassed but also secretly happy that he was proud of my efforts grin thank you mr mc dowel wherever you are!

Silverfoxballs Wed 21-Aug-13 23:11:32

Heat teacher at DS primary school offered lunch to all dc that would be missing their free school meal because of a national teaching strike.

A residential teacher once let me into her flat, fed me tea and biscuits and gave me hugs and tissues while I sobbed about my parents' divorce. I was about 16 at the time. I didn't even know her that well, was new to the school and didn't have many friends; she was so kind and gave me that safe space I needed. It was one of the reasons I went into teaching myself.

unsure2124 Wed 21-Aug-13 23:17:33

Thinking about it, I had a lovely uni tutor once. I never discussed anything with her except once to highlight that I was off due to family problems. However I knew that every tutor I had was given my 'file' with various letters and documents so she knew what was up.

I had an oral exam with her asking questions one day. I had done my revision in the back of a speeding ambulance and whilst sitting in A&E. Needless to say I fluffed several questions.

'No. You know the answer xxx, I know you do. You were so close. Try again?'

'No. Think about it, you arent far off - what else could the answer be?'

We were meant to be scored on our first attempt. Every question I got wrong she asked and asked until I got the right answer, so that I could pass the assessment.

She was lovely and helped me choose my final degree, for which id never have been accepted if it hadn't been for her.

I want to add, sometimes it's other pupils who are heroic too. When I was a Housemistress the father of one of my girl's died very suddenly. She went home for the funeral (had to fly to the other side of the world) and didn't want to tell anyone at school so asked me to tell the boarding house once she'd gone home. The girls were so kind and thoughtful-they cleared up her room for her, made cards, dealt with telling the day girls for her and had flowers ready for her when she returned a couple of weeks later. She used to sit in the common room with me and cry in the evenings and one or more of the girls always came to join us and give her cuddles. They looked after her in such a mature, generous way.

StabInTheDark Wed 21-Aug-13 23:35:19

Antoinette that is so lovely and I totally agree. When DD's friend passed away (it wasn't a girl from the same school) her school friends were amazing as well. Just really rallied round. The thing that sticks in my mind is the beautiful photo album they made and gave to her on the day of the funeral. Totally mature and still gives me a lump in my throat when I think about it now.

MidniteScribbler Thu 22-Aug-13 01:39:51

My high school history teacher is amazing. She figured out straight away that I was pretty bored with school, and really went the extra mile. She got me a place at a university residential course over the holidays (even though I was only a high school student), and took me to lectures and events at the archaeology and education faculties at the university as well, and organised for me to have access to the university libraries, where I spent many weekends. Later, when I was doing my teaching degree, she organised me to do prac with some really amazing teachers who taught me so much. Even now, she's allowed me access to her and her classroom while I'm doing my PhD to help me with research. Not many teachers are still guiding and teaching their student twenty years after they first meet them.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 22-Aug-13 02:31:25

When I was at primary school, I was being badly bullied in my final year by another girl. The real problem was that I had to go to her house after school every day, because she was the only local babysitter and my mother was a sole parent who worked an hour away so couldn't pick us up until dinnertime. It was just awful - we couldn't find another solution, the bullying was escalating, etc.

And I told the headmistress, and she offered to have both me and my younger brother come to her house after school instead, every afternoon, until my mother could find another solution. When I think about what an imposition that must actually have been, to have two little children in your home (hers were older) every day after working in a school. Well. I'm still so very grateful, 25 years later.

This is a lovely thread. I really hope that I have ex-pupils that have these stories about me.

On Radio 4 there was a profile of Mo Farah the other day. It seemed very clear to me that he wouldn't have made it through school without his PE teacher.

feelingdizzy Thu 22-Aug-13 08:33:51

I am a teacher, got up early this morning to get some planning done before my kids got up. Side tracked by Mumsnet then !

These stories have made me cry and made me remember what it's all about. I had a fantastic teacher in Y6 I had been to 5 schools before this and I was loud and gobby . She encouraged my 'artistic' personality as she called it. I am nearly 30 years on, grateful to her for seeing the real me behind the bluff.

echt Thu 22-Aug-13 09:09:19

taylor mali what teachers make

Try this

echt Thu 22-Aug-13 09:09:43

Damn. Link didn't work

echt Thu 22-Aug-13 09:10:38

Google it anyway.

feetheart Thu 22-Aug-13 09:15:26

The summer I turned 8 my dad died suddenly, leaving my mum with 3 small children.
The teacher whose class I had been in that year came along, scooped up all three of us, took us to her house and looked after us, along with her own four children, almost every day for the whole of the summer holidays.
43 years later I am still grateful - thank you Mrs Johnson.

CinnabarRed Thu 22-Aug-13 10:36:31
NamelessMcNally Thu 22-Aug-13 13:27:41

Wonderful thread. I've been moved to tears.

My fabulously individual, language loving, imaginative and never easy DD starts P1 this day next week. Sometimes, when she has been as challenging as only a four year old knows how, I need someone to remind me how fabulous she is. I know her teacher is dedicated, passionate, kind, firm, will bring things out of her I didn't even know where there.

I know the school she will go to is supportive, demands the best from each child whatever that may be. It's not fancy but it's fab.

I feel lucky and thankful that she is embarking on this amazing journey with such admirable guides.

MiaowTheCat Thu 22-Aug-13 14:20:02

The last headteacher I worked for (now sadly retired and it's teaching's loss)... fantastic woman.

I owe her probably my life for seeing just how ill with stress I was becoming, and administering one very well aimed kick up the arse to get home and if she saw me on school grounds before I was well she'd flipping well kill me!

Ignoring that one - a kid at the school suffered a very very big accident leading to massive physical disabilities, was all over the news about it as it attracted a lot of media interest and she was interviewed and the question was asked about would the school be able to continue accommodating the child when recovered and back at school... it was the look of total confusion on her face at the question and the reply of "why on earth would we NOT... he's one of our kids!" that just got me completely to lump in throat territory.

She'd also end up kicked black and blue by kids with real behavioural difficulties, whom lots of schools would have given up on long before (and indeed we got more and more of the hard to place kids sent to us as "you're so good with them") - and wouldn't give up on them, OR fob it all off to deal with onto her staff and lock herself away in the office to hide like too many school heads do.

Fab woman - one of the reasons I ended up as ill as I did was desperately trying not to let down the faith she'd put in me as a teacher to be honest (she'd basically hunted me down after getting to know me as a supply, and being horrified when I said I was quitting teaching, and bugged me back into the profession and then onto her staff)

homework Thu 22-Aug-13 14:34:04

Would like to add to this thread about my sons learning mentor , she constantly has his back in school both with other teachers , ensuring he has good support , taken on his case with head teacher getting him more support than worded in his statement . Especially for starting his gcse this coming year.
Supporting him though a difficult year with many episodes of bullying from kids in his school , listen to him and given him the occasional kick up the bum too, when he needs it.
Most importantly helping him though a lost of confidence when he was assaulted by child from another school , on train on his way home .
It's great to know that there are some fantastic teachers and tas out there , that will put the child first , so pleased that your continuing as his mentor for this coming year.
So mrs k your one in a million .

EddieVeddersfoxymop Thu 22-Aug-13 15:04:05

Nothing as heroic as some of these tales...but one which touched my heart. There's a little girl in DD's class who's parents never remember dress down days, charity days, fundraisers etc. I was in the class helping (parent helper) when it was red nose day. The school were selling cakes for 20p to raise money. All the kiddies were eagerly queuing (P1 in scotland, so just little 4/5 year olds) with their money except this little girl. The teacher slipped off to get her bag, and gave the poor thing a 20p so she could have a cake.

As I say, nothing like some of the above stories, but it touched my heart to see her care so much about her class. And of course so see the little girl munching a cake with her pals. Priceless.

happypotamus Thu 22-Aug-13 15:52:17

My yr 10 and 11 form teacher took time to notice what an unhappy person I was, and, without prying, let me know she was there to listen if I ever wanted to talk. Knowing that she cared helped even though I didn't trust her (or anyone else at all) enough to open up. Eventually, the afternoon before a week off school, my friend broke my confidence and told the teacher I was self-harming. I am sure the school's policy required her to tell the headmistress and for my parents to be informed, but she took the decision to get me to the school nurse instead. I know, from things friends said at the time and afterwards, that I wasn't the only girl she helped through those years.
Also, not a teacher, but my school nurse. It was a private school, so she was based in school. She had the patience to put up with me just sitting crying in her room for a lesson each week unable to tell her what was wrong until I eventually started talking. Then she listened and guided me through each problem. When she got me to go to my GP and I was referred to CAMHS, she drove me across town to my appointment so I would have time to get there and back in my lunch time. I am sure that was a) beyond her role and b) probably not strictly allowed.
I don't think I would have got through the last years of secondary school without them. Ever since I left, I have wanted to contact them (and a couple of other adults who really helped me drown under my depression) to say thank you but don't know how.

storynanny Thu 22-Aug-13 16:01:41

I've got lovely memories from my 35 plus years of primary teaching and they are all non academic ones! When I see my old pupils they always remind me about how I taught them to knit, sew and learn lots of songs which they can still remember the words to. Not sure how we managed to find the time to do those lovely things, maybe we were supposed to be doing numeracy or literacy at the time.
I'm very grateful to the secondary teachers who encouraged my sons to indulge their passions of music and sport.

Wonderstuff Thu 22-Aug-13 20:38:10

My dd teacher has been fantastic. Dd is gorgeous, but headstrong and determined, she tries my patience often. In January she had plastic surgery which resulted in both feet in casts for 6 weeks. She was on lots of pain killers, very uncomfortable and tired. Her teacher treated her with such sensitivity and compassion, through that half term and throughout the year. DD has loved school this year, it could have been really stressful.

I remember my mum taking a boy she taught under her wing, for lots of reasons the poor kid didn't have a good relationship with his mum. My mum used to take him out on the weekend sometimes, always tried to support him in school. Wanted him to help him.

perfectstorm Thu 22-Aug-13 21:54:42

This woman reduced me to tears. She passed away shortly after, but her words have stuck with me.

"Kids don't learn from people they don't like... every child needs a champion."

What an incredible teacher.

janpa Thu 22-Aug-13 22:59:08

These are lovely stories, but please, please tell the teachers when they have done such wonderful things. About ten years ago I was on a course held at the teacher training college I had attended when a young woman came up to me & said I had been her student teacher (on my final practice) & how she had always hated school until I came along & how what I had done had inspired her to become a teacher so she could turn around the lives of other children in the way I had turned around her life. I still don't know what I did specifically, but it doesn't really matter. Whenever I have a complaining parent I remember what a good job I do and what matters. Please pass on your messages, where possible, to stop fantastic, but disillusioned, teachers from leaving the profession. Thank you.

Mikachu Thu 22-Aug-13 23:25:51

perfectstorm - That's the Rita Pierson thing isn't it? Our headteacher played that to us on an inset day recently. Every word is so true. That's why I became a teacher - to make a difference in kids' lives.

And janpa is right. Please please tell teachers if you think they're amazing. We rarely hear these positive things because parents generally only come to see us if there's a problem. You could make a real difference to their day/week/career with your kind words.

DaleyBump Fri 23-Aug-13 00:09:48

This thread makes me incredibly happy and sad all in one. I was bullied terribly in school. So much so that I am still suffering from severe depression. I was suicidal at the time. Not one teacher ever tried to help me, and when one teacher saw some scars from my self-harming she then told lots of other teachers and classroom assistants who would talk about it behind my back. It wasn't like she told them to help me, it was just teachers gossiping. I just wish I had run into a teacher like you all describe.

Thumbwitch Fri 23-Aug-13 07:12:19

Another vote for Classics for this thread - it's wonderful and so touching.

thanks to all the fab teachers and assistants out there.

I don't have any inspirational teacher stories, but this is a great story of a brave heroic receptionist at an American school

phantomnamechanger Fri 23-Aug-13 10:48:07

sniff! what a lovely thread.

so many teachers make a huge difference and go far beyond the call of duty.

halfpint76 Fri 23-Aug-13 12:11:55

These are so heart-warming! Think teachers have come in for a lot of (unjust) criticism recently. Good to hear all these little acts which will (or have) made a huge difference to someone and their family.

chicaguapa Fri 23-Aug-13 13:42:33

I must be tired because this thread has made me well up.

I bloody hate DH's job tbh, but I'm very proud of him that there is a troubled teenage boy out there who was offered refuge in DH's classroom. He was in DH's tutor group and was always in trouble for losing his temper in class and storming out of the school. DH told him that if he felt like that, he could come to his classroom and calm down. Sometimes he used to just sit at the back for the whole day, but at least he was in school.

It's very similar to a lot of stories I've read on here so I hope it made a difference to this boy's life in the same way.

Feeling very emotional reading these!
My top one has to be our last head, she was the sort of woman who inspired all her staff to just go that extra mile for the kids and their families because she went the extra mile for you. In my first year a child in my class had massive holes in her shoes, there was a whole raft of interventions going on with this family but it just got to me that her little feet were so cold. So I bought a cheap pair of tesco shoes. When the head found out I she called me in and I thought I was in big trouble for stepping over the line for a professional. She handed me £20.00 out of her wallet and told me to get her a pair of wellies too.

She stood up to bullying parents, the LEA and anyone who threatened the wellbeing of her staff and children. And she was an absolute inspiration. She remembered everything about the staff and families and would always ask after your family/how things were going at home/ gave lovely personal presents for Christmas. I really miss her and I hope I can be half the teacher she was.

serin Fri 23-Aug-13 19:45:44

The teachers on whistling sands beach back in May, who spotted DD revising from a GCSE chemistry book and came over to chat and encourage her then ended up spending the best part of the afternoon tutoring her. Thanks for that, she got an A.

The year one teacher that DS fled to during the nativity performance, he had stage fright and climbed onto her knee. The way he snuggled up to her was exactly how he snuggled up to me and I realised he had a second Mum in her! Thank you.

GetKnitted Fri 23-Aug-13 21:21:36

so glad I came across this thread.

CharlotteParks Fri 23-Aug-13 23:16:19

My parents are teachers and we regularly had various waifs and strays brought home for the night or for the weekend or sometimes even longer. Often because no one had turned up for them at the end of the day and it turned out the mum had be arrested again or whatever.

Once they had a dressing down from social services about it, but it was gone 6pm, no foster care had been arranged and the child was hungry and tired. Social services had a strip torn off them and the child came home with us for a dinner that you have never seen eaten so fast, stopping off at Tesco to buy them a coat, shoes that fit and a new school uniform because theirs was in tatters. They were never bothered by SS again! In fact they went on to be foster carers and have had many children stay with them now, anything from a few months to many years.

storynanny Sat 24-Aug-13 09:07:13

Well maybe this thread has helped us see the good points about lots of teachers instead of just hearing the usual moans and groans about them. It's very hard to defend yourself as a teacher when faced with criticism from parents as they obviously have justification at that particular time re their children. However the vast majority of teachers I've come across in my career so far would be able to participate in this thread!
I'm not sure parents know how much of their own time and money lots of teachers spend on their pupils. There can't be many other professions where this happens, the money side that is.

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 24-Aug-13 10:16:41


We're going to move this to classics <wails>

Thumbwitch Sat 24-Aug-13 17:18:27

HUrrah! So glad it's in Classics, well done MNHQ thanks

EvilTwins Sat 24-Aug-13 20:29:14

One of my colleagues saved a student's life- literally. The student (yr 10 boy) choked on a sweet (obv shouldn't have been eating it) during his lesson. Banging him on the back didn't work. Colleague called for first aid but realised he needed to act fast as the boy was in real difficulties and starting to go blue. He got the boy to lie on the floor, picked him up upside down and the sweet came out. No idea how he managed it - normal bloke in his 50s lifting a straping 5"10 15 yr old. Paramedics said that the teacher's actions had saved the boy's life. All a bit dramatic for a GCSE Science lesson!

My parents were teachers, and I remember once answering the phone to a little voice asking "Is that John X's house? the teacher?" and when I said yes, they said "oh thank you God - is he there? I need help"
I never found out what exactly that student needed from my Dad, but whatever it was, he went and did it and I have never heard anyone sound quite so relieved to have found someone again. My Dad did say that "there was a reason he and mam weren't ex-directory" in the phone book...

tresleches Sun 25-Aug-13 00:00:09

My parents separated when I was in primary one and I went to stay with my grandparents 600 miles away during the school term. My teacher's daughter was an art student and I was presented with work books and jotters that had been personalised and covered in very good felt-tip Snoopy illustrations. My memory has pretty comprehensively blocked out whatever happened around that time, except the warm glow of looking at my school books

saffronwblue Sun 25-Aug-13 01:02:38

I can't stop thinking about the teacher in Sandy Hook who thought she and her Year 1 class were going to be killed by the awful gunman. She wanted the last thing her pupils heard to be that they were loved. So she told them over and over how good they were and how much she and their parents loved them.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 25-Aug-13 01:21:57

I want to say something about a teaching assistant not a teacher. She was so lovely to my heartbroken chid starting school, for the whole reception year. Can't write it as it still makes me well up.

BigcatLittlecat Sun 25-Aug-13 09:24:44

@saffronwblue That story made me sob at the time. The fact she wanted them to know they were loved and the last thing they could possibly have heard to be positive. It makes you think about what you would do in that situation.
I've never had anything that bad but in one situation I had to keep a class safe and not let anyone in. At time just did it without thinking. When I got home I was a mess.
Teachers do amazing things but we get hassle all the time from the press. There are children I know now who I try and help in little ways just to make life a little better for them.
On lighter note I was the tooth fairy on one residential! Half the children were in on it as well and told me when the child was asleep! Loved the way those big year 5 boys kept the magic alive that night!
Have sat stroking boys hair whilst they go to sleep! They don't want you to talk about it the next day!
Some of the soured on here are amazing.

BigcatLittlecat Sun 25-Aug-13 09:25:12

Stories not soured!

RegainingUnconsciousness Sun 25-Aug-13 10:50:02

I love this thread. I've only been teaching a few years, and I hope there's some little ways I've helped students. I've had some lovely thank yous from a few.

It's inspired me to keep looking for the little opportunities to make a difference.

Deathbyladybirds Sun 25-Aug-13 11:09:57

This thread is why we should stand up for teachers when the are being harassed and blamed to serve whatever the current political agenda is.

saffronwblue Sun 25-Aug-13 11:49:53

In my last year of school I was the only person in the whole school who wanted to do Latin.The school refused to offer it on the timetale. My teacher agreed to teach me in her own time- every Saturday morning I went to her house for 3 hours. I loved it - she and her husband treated me like an adult and I did really well in the final state exams. I never really appreciated that she was giving up so much of her free time so generously.

OhTheDrama Wed 28-Aug-13 21:54:35

Both my DC's have a genetic illness which causes specific sensory problems (being vague as don't want to out myself). DC1 has a teacher who is specifically trained in this and comes into school to see her once a fortnight to check that she and the class teacher are managing and irons out any problems, would also teach the class teacher different methods of teaching which greatly helps DC1's situation. We thought DC2 had gotten away with this problem but was diagnosed a few months ago, seems to have bigger needs than DC1 does.

Anyway when DC2 got the formal diagnosis we immediately asked the Consultant to put an immediate refferral in to this service for DC2. The next morning this teacher rang me and genuinely seemed concerned about how we were all feeling, I was naturally a bit upset on the phone as we hadn't really gotten our heads round it. When I got back from picking the kids up from school that afternoon, this lady was sat outside in her car. She had come to see that I was alright and wanted to allay some of my fears. This woman covers a major city and must see hundreds of children a month but made time for us! I was so amazed by that simple act of kindness.

Noideaatall Thu 29-Aug-13 23:59:29

When I was at uni I really struggled. It was a very bad time in my life, I was a newly single parent to my toddler after my daughter was stillborn. One of my very 'proper' and formal supervisors gave me individual lessons nearly every day. He single handedly got me through a very demanding degree. I had no idea at the time this wasn't the norm, he didn't say a word and nor did anyone else. It was only years after I'd left, when he was very ill, that one of my other teachers told me he'd given up his own time to do it and hadn't been paid for the lessons. I will always be grateful - he literally changed my life.

shinny Fri 30-Aug-13 04:59:21

These stories are gorgeous!

My DS started reception and being the youngest was tired and ratty a lot of the time. The teacher, who Im still grateful to to this day was fabulous with him. As an ex-fireman, he brought his gear in one day just to show my son to try and engage him and another day I came to collect him and the teacher had been carrying him all day as he was feeling a bit tired! We left the school after only a few terms and my son announced one day that the teacher had appeared at his new school (imposs as it was overseas) for the day just to see him! We still talk about him as he gave my son the best possible start and went way beyond his job description. Thanks Mr H!!

lalachu Fri 30-Aug-13 14:01:51

Wonderful stories. I'm in a teary mess as dd is asleep on my lap & I can't reach the tissues. smile

My story isn't as heroic as some on here, but made a huge difference to me, at the time.

I had my GCSE French Oral exam & history mock exam on the same day that my graphic media final project had to be handed in. I had asked my French teacher if I could do my oral the next day (like some pupils were), but she insisted we had to go in alphabetical order. This despite my friend in the same boat, but different French class, being allowed to do so.

I was a bit of a perfectionist at school & got very stressed & anxious about my work being just right. On seeing what a state I was in, after the history mock, my graphic media teacher told me to, "sit down & go over your French". He then proceeded to go through my project & check it for me (adding the odd bit, I'm sure). It sounds such a small thing but I wasn't far off a complete melt-down, as I was so panicked by it all.

Thanks to him I got A* in both French & Graphic Media. smile

BlindKitty Fri 30-Aug-13 18:45:53

This one might be a bit controversial but my when I was 15 my pse teacher clicked I was asking too many questions about where 'I'd 'theoretically' get the morning after pill from. After I finally admitted that I needed it she arranged an appointment and covered for me so I could go and get it whilst i was meant to be in classes! She never told my mum (who would have completely over-reacted) and I didn't get knocked up at 15!

I hared school and was prettt crap at anything academic. ..basically I failed almost everything and was an absolute pain in the arse...but it was covering a deep unhappiness that noone belived in me and I was as thick as shit (in my eyes)

I then decided I wanted to do childcare in 6th form but was turned away because I had no qualifications and a reputation as being a twat quite frankly!

One of the course tutor s agreed I could do it and I loved it...abs completely excelled in it....she literally made me believe I could so absolutely anything I wanted and achieve great things and allowed me to believe I wasnt as thick as I thought...she literally turned my life around

Im now a nanny and beyond grateful that she gave me a chance to do something I absolutely adore

Jane Woods, if youre reading this. ...thank you for taking a chance on me

RandomMess Sat 05-Oct-13 22:06:12

Some wonderful things on here, my dc have had some wonderful teachers during primary school. They work hard long hours and I'm very grateful for them.

Levantine Sun 01-Dec-13 13:16:51

Oh my word I have tears rolling down my face reading this. Amazing stories

DavidHarewoodsFloozy Sun 01-Dec-13 14:01:29

This is just a lovely read.

Two teachers stand out for me;
DD2 developed an eating disorder when she was 14. One of her teachers..a male one, realised. Then he took her to his office and showed her his wardrobe.. filled with every size suit because he was a recovering bulimic and he wanted her to know there was a safe place for her to go, to talk to him..which she did. He saved her where the CAHMS service and all their councellors didn't and he talked to her every day until she left school.

DS1 was a firecracker of a boy aged 13-16, full of rage, underperforming and did some really stupid stuff. He could have been expelled several times.
When he was 16 his g'friend of 2 years broke up with him and he fell apart, he trashed a classroom and went nuts in school.

Instead of expelling him, or discipling him, his head of year rang me to ask if she could take him out of school that day...

She let him sob himself to sleep in her arms and listened and talked to him. Back in school afterwards she spent may many hours with him, was always there for him and he left with a decent lot of GCSEs. Mrs Day, you saved my angry young man and helped him grow into a fantastic young adult.

RoadKillTurkeyStuffingandSprou Fri 13-Dec-13 21:00:47

Cried my way through this thread remembering the amazing teachers I had the honour of through my school life.
The head teacher Mrs Woods and my Y3&6 Teacher My Weston. They where both amazing, helped me through critical illness, coming into hospital to see me every week, supporting me and my mothers while we escaped my abusive father and went through a lengthy and nasty custody dispute. The teachers reports went a long way in preventing me having to live with my father, something that without their support was very likely. There where thousands of individual things they both did. I would be here all night. Me Weston sadly passed away a few years ago, Mrs Woods would be in her 90's now so who knows.
In high school there there where a few again, Miss Watts the PE teacher who gave me the confidence defy bullies and she taught me to dance on the ski trip disco and continued building my confidence but by bit until she sadly died too soon due to breast cancer. Even while going through treatment, losing all her hair she still ruefully came into school to see everyone and continue her efforts to help me. Every single time I take to a dance floor I remember her, 'just move your legs Roadkill. Look you're doing it' (making myself cry now).
Then there is Mr Gerry Lynch. A truly amazing hero of a man he was. He was head of English and opened the library every break and lunch time to me and my only friend to escape bullies and have a safe place, over the years a few other waifs and strays found sanctuary in the library with us until suddenly I had a group of friends. In y10 and 11 as I struggled to deal with issues around the forced contact with my abusive father and then just before my GCSE's when my beloved step Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Mr Lynch was there, door always open. I cried on his shoulder, confided in him things I struggled to talk to anyone else about. He was always there, he always listened. Even though my step Dads diagnosis must have been hard for him having lost his wife to cancer some years before he was still there for me, readying me, loving me. He celebrated my achievements, he sat and listened when I sang a song I had found that summed up my terrible feeling of impending loss, I must have sounded terrible, I can't sing, I was crying the whole way through but he sat next to me, held my hand, told me it was beautiful and then let me just sit there, head in his shoulder and cry about the injustice and the pain, my anger and confusion that the wrong man was during, it should have been my biological father. I will never ever forget that day, the feeling of his rough tweed jacket, the shoulder wet with tears...
Even after I left school we stayed in contact. He retired at the same time. I visited him from time to time in a local public library. The horrific tragedy was that he had a massive heart attack and died just a few months later, three months before my step Dad died. I don't know how I would have survived if it hadn't been for the group of friends his 'Library club' had given me and the self belief he had installed in me. Mr Lynch couldn't solve my problems and make everything all better but if it hadn't been for him and all he gave me who knows when or if I would have come out the other side.

There where other teachers who made a difference and went above and beyond and now my children are at school I see their teachers making such a difference. My ds has SN and the teachers at school have really rallied around to ensure DS can access his education and make his very first friends. The amazing TA's who are so patient and encouraging. My sons doctors are always blown away by the speed of DS's progress and the well oiled machine school and I have going. I write many thank you letters in Christmas and end of term cards, I find it so important to recognise how much of themselves our teachers give, so far above the job description and pay scale.
None of them would call themselves a hero or say they where doing anything special. That's why we need to tell them and anyone who will listen how amazing they are!
(Sorry for the epic post, once I started the memories complete with sensory imput just flooded out and I 'had' the write it down)

I love reading stories like these, there are so many of them. My parents were both primary teachers, dad is now retired and mom isn't far off. They worked (and work) in a pretty downtrodden town in the midlands, where parent support is practically nonexistent, so they are consistently going above and beyond - and I'm not just saying that because they're my parents.

They always took my old reading books in to give to the kids at school, old clothes, outgrown pe kit etc. The stories they brought home from school leaves me in no doubt that teachers genuinely do care about every child they teach. It's like your own kids, you might not necessarily like them all the time but you always, always care that they're ok.

One story that always stuck with me was a boy who came up to my dad's junior school from the infants up the road. He had autism, and the infant school didn't know how to deal with it so basically left him alone for a couple of years. When he first started at dad's school, he could just about sit in the corner of the classroom but wouldn't entertain the idea of assemblies.

So the teachers made h a spaceship out of a massive cardboard box, let him decorate it, then he would sit in the 'spaceship' in the hall while assemblies happened and do colouring. After a while, they cut a window in the box to break the barrier a bit. By Easter, he was out of the box doing colouring. By the summer holidays, he sat in line with his class.

Another time, they had to do a fire drill. Knowing that the change in routine would be hard for him, they told him that dinosaurs had been spotted in town and that if the bell rang then he had to run out into the playground to find it. When it came to the fire drill, he was the first out there, and there was a massive model dinosaur that they'd hired for the playground so he wouldn't feel like he'd been had.

That school were well known for the way they coped with pupil's additional needs, and it was such a happy school.y heart swells every time I think of all the effort all those teachers put in.

RibenaFiend Fri 13-Dec-13 22:42:28

A school I visit gave a thank you to the pupils at the end of my assembly to all those pupils who had contributed to the school you bank as "sometimes Santa has trouble bringing enough toys for all the children so we want there to be more toys at school in case he wants to put more on his sleigh" confused

I spoke with the teacher after the children were dismissed out to play and the staff of that school had set up a toy bank for the parents of that school as they had found that their "working poor" parents are really really struggling with Christmas for their children this year.

They also have set up a school food bank.

Absolutely broke my heart.

i then went back after my big shop with a sack of toys for their bank

otterface Tue 31-Dec-13 19:34:02

Ms Sherlock, my middle school American History teacher (in the US). We were 11 and 12, reading a story about pioneers on the wagon trail out west. The story included several references to "pioneers and their wives."

Ms. Sherlock instructed the class to take out our pens and cross out "and their wives" each time it appeared, pointing out that the men and the women and the children were all pioneers, not only the men. One of my classmates asked if we would get into trouble for writing in the books, which were school property, and Ms. Sherlock said the school should thank us for correcting such a silly mistake, and that she would be fully responsible. She was also the first person I ever knew who went by "Ms." Hero. smile

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