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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

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)

StetsonsAreCool Fri 13-Dec-13 22:09:31

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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