Old School Teacher Style

From Photobucket

From Photobucket

Ring. Ring. Ring.



In the middle of crazy hour.

I picked up the phone with some resistance.

It was my son’s Afrikaans language teacher.

I was tempted to say “Wrong number” and hang up.

I am so glad I didn’t.

What a wonderful woman and a gifted teacher.

She called during her evening at home, with her family, on her own time to find out how she could help my son get to grips with her class.

That’s commitment. That’s dedication.

That’s what separates good teachers from great ones.

Having two English speakers as parents and no access to Afrikaans as a spoken language does not a multi-lingual child make.

Instead of the usual teacher spiel about what extra stuff I have to do at home I got this…


I was speechless. Gobsmacked. Awe struck.

She is going to spend extra time with him before every test and assessment.

She is going to send home an audio CD she developed to help second language speakers.

She is going to speak to the school psychologist about giving my son coping skills to help him not lose every coherent thought in his brain during an exam.

She went out of her way to warn me not to be shocked at my son’s dismal score, but to realise that the test was done in another class, under pressure.

She told me that despite his miserable assessment he scored 15 out of 20 for his spelling test today.

She is an amazing woman and an inspired teacher.

If only more teachers were more like her.

No passing the passing the buck.

Just making a plan.

If I were a teacher, I’d give her a gold star!

And five shiny red apples.


11 thoughts on “Old School Teacher Style

  1. That’s really awesome. I love hearing about teachers like this. I’m not sure what schools are like in SA, but the American educational system is for s***. The fault doesn’t lie solely with the teachers (also with their unions, parents, school administrations, the US government and the students themselves), but I don’t always think they help.

    Anecdotally speaking, it seems that a lot of the people I knew in school who WANTED to be teachers ended up doing something else (hello!), and the people who ended up being teachers were the people who didn’t know what else to do. That’s a pretty broad generalization, I know–I’m only talking about my own experiences.

    But I do remember as a student how much of a difference a good teacher can make. Most of my teachers were just okay–folks who did their job. A few of them were terrible–bullies and insecure tyrants. But there were a few also who were really special, and loved what they did. I was a difficult student for a lot of reasons, and it was easy to write me off. But there were a few teachers who didn’t, and they made a huge difference in my life.

    • For great teachers education is a vocation. For all the others it is a job.

      The state education system here is an absolute joke. It is so bad I don’t think it will ever recover. Private schools are bankruptingly expensive, but worth the sacrifice.

      I say that, but sometimes when my kids are really annoying me in the back seat. I look longingly at the new Range Rover and think to myself “That’s three kids schooling for a year. Right there.”

      • I feel your pain–or I will. I have three kids as well. The oldest two are in Pre-K at a really good public grade school in our area, but because of residency requirements, may not be able to go to kindergarten there (we’re trying). If not, private or home-school may be our option.

      • I’m pretty good, actually. What I don’t know, however–and this is the big question–is how good I’ll be with my own children. It’s different somehow.

  2. WOW WOW WOW !!!!!! I need a miracle like this for my daughters! My teen was bullied by a teacher once and nothing got through to her, it was excuse after excuse anyways. (Moved now) I am soo happy for you! my four year old needs a lot of help too and just got the resources from our community, coming into HER SCHOOL, that will help her as she learns as well! So exciting congrats!

  3. Great News from a Great Teacher! I tutored middle schoolers when I was in High School. This one student was great with spelling until this student took the test every week. I finally figured out this student needed to be able to write out the spelling words on paper and not on the computer. The letters setup on the keyboard was throwing this student off since this student learned the alphabet from A to Z not Q to M per se by keyboard. Great Post!

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