My Superhero teacher
It takes a village to raise a child. This week I have witnessed the best and the worst of that. From the self centered poorly parented Beverly Hills brats who stole my son’s wallet with id="mce_marker"80 in it and the insane parents who threatened to sue me for asking them to look into it, to the kid who smashed my son’s brand new iPhone and whose mother I am still yet to hear from, to the complete other end of the spectrum - my son’s social studies teacher - April Silva, the greatest hero of his life thus far. Why? Because at twelve years of age my son has learnt that he is smart and I have her to thank for it.
It started a few weeks ago during his IEP meeting (Individualized Education Program)where she was the only one of his teachers who bothered turning up and who said, “Teach me everything you know about Aspergers and how I can help inspire your child.” She inspired my iAM Project (http://wp.me/P1L4ip-as) and in the space of two weeks and many emails between us, she took my son from failing with 47% in his tests and thinking he was stupid to getting an A with 96% in his last two tests and him whispering to me as I tucked him into bed last night, "Mummy, I think I might be smart!".
Imagine what this woman will do in a year with him or how many beautiful souls she has inspired in her whole life time of teaching.
But it’s not just social studies that she has impacted. His English and Science grades are on the rise and last night for the first time in his entire history of schooling he did his own Maths homework! For the first time in his life he believes in himself, he knows he is smart and capable and he wants to study.
I was appalled recently to turn on the Beverly Hills High School TV channel (publicly broadcast on channel 6) to see the Beverly Hills School Board candidates, in response to the question about the embarrassingly BELOW standard testing results for science and maths across the entire Beverly Hills School District and what they intended to do about it, most of them agreeing that the solution was to pay the teachers more money. Ummmm, am I the only one who thinks this is stupid? Yes, ALL teachers deserve better wages but failing teachers won’t get any better with more money - they’ll just have better weekends off! I have to say I was mildly relieved when Brian Goldberg, the only candidate who replied to my emails, and a previous Board member with a good chance of being re-elected agreed that there was a LOT more than just money needed to fix this problem and a guarantee that tenure and re-education of teacherswho are failing to teach was definitely one of his objectives - the reason he will be getting my vote in the upcoming election.
I have seen my son’s entire self esteem attacked by BAD teachers who have “retired” years ago, comfortably resting in tenure, unable to be fired, FAILING to teach and taking out their vicious insecurities on any child they see as a target for their own bitter insecurities, their outdated discipline methods and teaching "skills" from a time where special needs kids were sent to “special” schools so they didn’t have to “deal with” them and any child with any challenges was branded a "bad seed" and left behind. I have seen inspired teachers new to the game, fresh with vibrant teaching methods, keen to bring all their hard earned education to fruition pink slippedin the first years of their career because they were last in the door, first out - the most ridiculous way to “trim the budget” that I have ever witnessed.
Kai’s recent assault by his science teacher (http://wp.me/s1L4ip-400) and the subsequent lack of any real recourse for the teacher (at the worst this guy should have been ordered to some teacher retraining perhaps?) shows that we going about it the wrong way.
Teachers who teach and inspire should be acknowledged and recognized and rewarded for the amazing work they do. Sure, my son’s leap in marks is not going to change the world... or will it? What happens when you allow a spark of self esteem to ignite a hunger for learning and a belief in the self so strong that you open a child’s entire future up to allow, for the first time in their life, the liberating belief that anything is possible. Some people are born brilliant with enough vision to follow their dreams passionately unswerving in the knowledge that they WILL achieve ALL they set out to do...but who knows how many brilliant minds/careers lie behind kids who we have failed to inspire.
It takes a village to raise a child. It takes an inspired and brilliant teacher to EDUCATE our children. When we gather our energies and our talents and put them to good, use, then there is no limit to what we can achieve.
This story of an autistic boy, who instead of being left out like most of our kids on the spectrum, was very much INCLUDED by his high school coach, basketball players, cheerleaders, fans, families and even the opposing team. He was accepted and embraced for who he is and the difference he could bring to their world. He inspired them and they inspired him, becoming an integral part of HIS village. When given a moment to shine he lit up his whole community whose heart is clearly visible in this video. This, this, is how we need to be, as a village, a community, a nation, a world, as humanity.
Can you hear me? This is how we have to be!!!!!
Teachers who truly teach should be saluted, embraced, acknowledged, rewarded and remunerated. Teachers who don’t should be re-educated or fired. April Silva, I hereby award you the first ever Finding My Mojo Superhero Award for being my son’s champion. You are exactly the kind of teacher we needed. Forever grateful.
If you have someone you would like to nominate for an award then please share your story here.
Thank You Elizabeth Wieland for sharing that incredible video with me. xx