I think most have us have encountered a person who has no business working with children.
Some of these people simply do not like children. Others are just hostile sadistic bastards who prey on vulnerable kids to boost their ego. At best, some are apathetic and do not care one way or another about the welfare of our children and yet still there are others who simply forgot that they too were once kids and what being a kid felt like.
Luckily for daughter, her teacher is not one of the above. Ms. Mather comes across as a serious but soft spoken individual with certain ease about her. Judging from the progress my daughter has made in her school work, I am convinced that Ms. Mather is not just a good teacher, she is a wonderful teacher. However what makes Ms. Mather and others like her that little bit extra special, is that she cares and not just about the books but about the general welfare of our children. And in case you are wondering, no, she is not my best friend and neither is my daughter the teacher’s pet. In fact Ms. Mather has been known admonish, reprimand or even give my kid acceptable punishment for making wrong choices.
My daughter is one of three mixed race children in her school. One day she told me that a little girl had made her feel bad about her beautiful curly brown hair. Needless to say my daughter was upset, she wanted straight hair. As a mother, it broke my heart. My daughter is not only beautiful on the outside but she is also beautiful on the inside. She has a sunny disposition and one of very few kids that I know who wakes up with a smile on her face. I was never like that, waking up for school was a continuation of my nightmare. I spoke to my daughter and told her that her hair was beautiful. I told her that I loved her, I told she should love herself and generally we had a long and hopefully productive conversation. Having done my part, I then wrote a short note to Ms. Mather explaining the situation.
Ms. Mather did not address my kid about this subject. Instead she found four kid’s books about different races, different skin colours, different families and most importantly different hair. Every two days or so, she read one book to her class, held a discussion about it and then sent the book home with my daughter so we could read it together and talk about it.
Another time one boy would not work with my kid in class. I cannot say one hundred percent that this was race related, but it did amount to bullying of sorts. Although my daughter did not tell me about it, the teacher took this very seriously because she has zero tolerance on bullying and believes it must be nipped in the bud. She sent the boy out of the class and called his parents for a meeting. She also sent me an e-mail to say what had happened and how she had dealt it. A few weeks later something similar happened, this time with a different boy who pushed my girl. Again my daughter did not mention it but the teacher wrote to me and explained how she dealt with that issue also.
In some cases, at least in my case, my daughter spends more of her waking hours in school than she does at home. It therefore gives me great comfort to know that someone has her back. Sadly my daughter is going to 2nd grade and will leave Ms. Mather behind. I can only hope that the next teacher is inclined.
I applaud you and others like you Ms. Mather, hopefully because of you, the leaders of tomorrow; our children, will not only be better academics but also well balanced people who choose right instead of wrong.