Liam came home with a letter from school today which stated that his teacher would be leaving at the end of the month. Now I always give Teacher Ane grief in my blog, but that’s because I’m secretly envious of her calm and loving nature, her ability to look after 13 toddlers all day and still remain intact and of sound mind, with not a strand of hair out of place. She speaks slowly and softly, she hugs everyone hello and goodbye and she finds the lesson in everything – like of course there is a valid reason for Liam to be throwing a tantrum at 7.30am and “let’s see what can we learn from this…” But really the thing I love most about teacher Ane is what she’s done for Liam, both mentally and emotionally.
I was forced to send Liam to school way before I was ready to. I had plans to keep him at home with my helper, until he was at least 3 years old. I thought he’d benefit from the one on one interaction, and with the hours that my husband and I work, I didn’t see how we would be able to drop and fetch him and he was way too young for the school transport system. However, Hannah came along quite unexpectedly and during my maternity leave, with my two babies at home, I knew there was no way I could leave my helper with both of them. Firstly because I think she would have walked out of the job on day 2 – it’s way more difficult looking after a 15 month old and a new born than it is looking after twins; they don’t have the same schedule, they don’t eat the same things, they can’t occupy each other, they can’t bath together and they don’t sleep at the same time – its hard! Secondly, I knew I would be doing the kids a disservice, either Liam would be sidelined while Hannah was been seen to, or Hannah would have to learn to cry it out when Zoleka needed to attend to Liam. I felt like my only option was to put Liam into school.
Without naming and shaming, the first school we enrolled Liam into turned out to be a disaster. It really was more of a babysitting service and it was the saddest thing to watch.. my 18 month old baby would walk in and plonk himself on the mat and just wait for the next order. It broke my heart every time I had to leave him there. He would come home SUN BURNT every day, even though I lathered him up with sun block before he left in the mornings, AND packed it into his school bag. I was LIVID! After four months, we decided to pull Liam out and try another school. So the second time around, we did a bit more research, visited a few more schools, I too was wiser and had a better idea of what I DIDN’T want in a school. And when we found this school and our dearest Teacher Ane, we knew we were home.
Liam has grown in leaps and bounds, through play-and-learn, he has developed skills that I know I would never have had the time or patience to teach him. His fine and gross motor skills, his vocabulary, his self esteem, and even his imagination are being exercised and utilised in a way that blows my mind and I am amazed at the potential that ALL little kids have and how great and endless the possibilities, if we but just give them the opportunity to use their minds and bodies! Please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way undermining the idea of a child staying at home until the age of four or five, remember this was my initial plan for my own children, but I do believe (and quite sheepishly admit) that my lifestyle does not lend itself to a lot of one on one time with my kids in which I can focus on teaching them new and exciting things every day. So I am eternally grateful to Teacher Ane who has helped my little boy blossom into a confident, wise beyond his years, happy go lucky, bubbly, boisterous toddler. He can’t wait to rip himself out of his car seat in the mornings, we have to endure hours and hours of what Teacher Ane said and how Teacher Ane sings and can we go visit Teacher Ane on the weekend, etc, etc..
So we will miss you Teacher Ane!! I feel like an important family member is going away and never coming back! I know of course, that Liam will have many more teachers in his life who will leave a lasting impression and impact his life positively – I still remember some of my own special teachers who encouraged me and made a huge and positive difference to my life, both in school and out – but I also know that he will miss Teacher Ane for what will seem like an eternity in his mind (probably a week) and I hope that her replacement will be able to fill the rather big red wellington’s that our special Teacher Ane leaves behind. xxx