Down with dad: Superstars of schooling

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Good teachers are so important, great teachers are superstars, but sometimes a teacher will come along that makes a massive difference for both the children and parents.

It is apparently National Teacher Appreciation Week. Google told me, so it must be true.

It is also the final week Eilidh will have with her Primary One teacher before she leaves to teach at a different school.

Eilidh has developed so much in the year under this teacher’s guidance.

All the things you would hope for – reading, writing and numbers – are coming on in leaps and bounds. Just as importantly, she has created an environment where Eilidh is comfortable, confident and can show her full personality (and it can be full on).

It has been far from an easy journey for any of us. Our first meeting with the school was a tough one as we transitioned from the relative safety of the nursery years into primary school.

Eilidh’s teacher was straight with us about the challenges she was having at school.

It wasn’t easy to hear and it felt like the transition to mainstream was going to be too much of a leap for her.

Not only did her teacher have the challenge of building Eilidh’s personal development plan but she also had two shellshocked parents needing direction.

Eilidh’s teacher took it all in her stride and did so much for us.

There were things you might expect (training with Down’s Syndrome Scotland, learning Makaton) but there were so many small things that she thought of to make life easier – the wee lanyard she made and attached to Eilidh’s dress with common words and tasks to help her communicate, the chill-out tent she put in the corner for Eilidh to hide in when it all got too much, researching techniques to help Eilidh’s attention and writing 

Beyond the classroom she gave us so much more confidence in how to support Eilidh at home by creating an extension of activities from the classroom.

Eilidh loves this so much that she always asks to do her word games on a Saturday morning.

Lynn relied so much on the emails that she received, usually late at night, telling her what Eilidh had got up to at school, interspersed with stories of her developing really strong bonds with her friends. When your daughter can’t tell you herself, things like this mean the world to parents.

We’ve been told that it’s a teacher’s duty but, for us, there is a big difference between doing what they have to do and passionately wanting to make a difference.

We were lucky and got the latter with Eilidh’s teacher.

She hasn’t done it all herself, of course. There is wonderful support at Comely Park from Eilidh’s support teacher right up to the head but the impact that this teacher has made will set Eilidh up for the rest of her school years, however they unfold.

From Eilidh, and especially from mum and dad, good luck in the 
new role, you’ll be sorely missed.