A year after starting at his daycare, I finally met the wonderful staff member who has won T over.
I’ve always believed that teachers and educators play an important role in a child’s life and have a big influence on their self concept and their enjoyment of learning and school.
For kids with special needs like T, an understanding and empathetic teacher can set a positive tone. Or alternatively, a teacher who does not understand T’s challenges nor is equipped nor willing to try to learn can have an adverse effect on T’s experience and viewpoint on school.
I have no doubt that we will encounter both kinds in T’s school journey. Absolutely zero doubts.
I still remember sitting down with his Montessori teacher in his challenging preschool year at a parent interview night. She told me point blank she had asked the special needs consultant for advice on how to deal with T’s behaviour.
I remember thinking to myself, “Shouldn’t you know these things as a teacher?” In hindsight, I appreciate her candor and willingness to learn.
We’ve been blessed to have had a great teacher in T’s recent junior kindergarten year, a wonderful man who understands how to work with kids with great potential and challenging behaviors. I learned a lot from him that I will share in a future post.
A child’s typical week is mostly spent in school and in T’s case, an after school program.
We’ve been so blessed with an amazing after school program that wants to work with us. They applied for a government fund that allows them to hire a one-on-one support for T.
All the staff there have been so awesome, adaptive and caring.
But there is one particular person who T adores and talks about frequently at home.
A guy whom the daycare staff uses as an incentive for T to be on his best behaviour.
If T does a good job and listens well, he can go up to the second floor to hang out with Mr Alex.
T says Mr Alex is funny and lots of fun.
During lockdown, when schools and his after school program were closed, T sometimes asked about Mr Alex.
When we put T in day camp this summer, we were hoping the same team of staff would be there. And they were!
During pickup on Monday, a young man whom I’ve never met before opened the door.
“Are you Alex?” I asked.
He smiled and said yes.
I would’ve shook his hand, but you know, pandemic. So all I said in response was, “It’s very nice to finally meet you. T adores you and talks about you a lot at home.”
I saw him again yesterday afternoon. He made sure to first point out the Batman keychain toy hanging from T’s backpack.
He organized a scavenger hunt and these Kinder surprise toys were the prize.
Before T walked out of the school, he turned around and gave Mr Alex a big tight hug.
“I love you, T,” he said.
Then T called him a poopy face.
In T’s world, that is genuine high love and praise.