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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

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

CoolItKittens Wed 21-Aug-13 15:42:13

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.

NorksAreMessy Wed 21-Aug-13 17:31:47

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.

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