Friday, 5 December 2014

Memories.

I was a school-teacher for many years - starting off teaching children (and adults) with learning difficulties, then Primary school for a short while, and finally the bulk of my teaching career in Comprehensive heading a unit for children with learning and also with language difficulties (this was an inner city school with a large, new immigrant population with many non- English speakers).

Of course all teachers remember some pupils and forget others - we can't possibly remember them all.   And I have to say that usually the ones I remember were either the difficult ones with behavioural problems (but who often were such lovely children underneath that exterior layer), and also many of the children with learning difficulties.

My first school was what was then known as a 'Special School' for children with fairly mild learning difficulties.  Some of these children I shall never forget because of the pleasure it gave me to teach them, and to see them make tiny steps of progress.

Every Christmas I remember one little boy in particular and I would like to tell you about him.   He was around nine years old, an only child and very much loved by his parents.  He came from quite a poor family, but what they lacked in material things they more than made up for in love.

S, the little boy, rarely spoke - a mixture of shyness and difficulty in speaking I think.   Whatever the reason whenever any school play  happened, S never got a speaking part - for obvious reasons.

We had a Ladybird Book on Saint Boniface and my class loved it.   I can't remember the story except that it involved Boniface crossing the sea in a boat to tour Europe, and I rather think the a Christmas tree was involved.

I recorded the story in brief on tape (yes, it was that long ago) and decided that if the class acted it out they could do so in mime.   And this meant that S would not be left out.   And so it was that S became Saint Boniface.   I made him a canoe like boat out of cardboard.   The whole thing was in mime and we finished by singing the carol 'O Christmas Tree' - the class sang and Boniface stood in the front and held a small Christmas tree covered with sparkling lights.

He was so excited that he told his parents which night to come and he had got the wrong night.   They arrived to find the school in darkness and had to come again (quite a few miles on two buses) the next night.   But it was worth it - they were thrilled, S got a standing ovation, his mother was in tears of pride.   I have never forgotten that night and I think of it every year as Christmas approaches.

14 comments:

Twiggy said...

What a lovely memory. I work in the office of our small village school, it doesn't matter how busy or stressful it gets , the children more than make up for it. I could hear them rehearsing for their Christmas concert today, just lovely
Twiggy

yael said...

i am sure that boy remembers you all his life.

Loren said...

What a perfect Christmas story!

Those kinds of moments are what made teaching worthwhile.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Yup, a perfect Christmas story. :) m & jb

Barbara Womack said...

What a beautiful story!
I am certain that is a memory that little boy (and his family) has never forgotten.

jinxxxygirl said...

What a lovely memory Weave. I wonder if the boy (now man) or his family ever think of that day? Christmas is a wonderful time to shake off the dust of almost forgotten memories..Thanks Weave i will remember to do that this year. Hugs! deb

angryparsnip said...

What a lovely memory !
Now I must look up St.Boniface

cheers, parsnip

Joanne Noragon said...

And such a happy memory.

Heather said...

What a beautiful story. I bet the little boy in question remembers that particular Christmas too, and the lovely teacher who took so much trouble to help her pupils.

Gerry Snape said...

Oh Pat stories like that do one good and give happy memories....with so much unhappiness in the media and news all the more reason to remember these lovely moments....thankyou for the welcome back as well!

Cro Magnon said...

I think you should write that down as a children's story.

The only boy I really remember from my teaching days was the grandson (great-grandson maybe?) of the man who founded the Avro Aeroplane Co; their names were also the same. He was a highly creative boy, and I've always wondered what he became.

John Gray said...

A lovely story..just what we neededo

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes, folks, as usual the news is all doom and gloom. Anything which brightens our dayis good. Thanks for joining in.

Mac n' Janet said...

Wonderful story! Yes there are certain students we'll never forget. I had a little boy who had been retained because he hadn't learned to read. In my opinion he hadn't learned to read because his class had been utter chaos. But the year with me he learned to read and so much more. He memorized a poem at one point, the children could choose a long or short one, and he chose the long one. It was incredible. I took him all around the school to perform.