The Difference a Teacher can Make

After the agreement to switch Gavin to the class with his favourite teacher, I expected this morning to run a little more smoothly.  I was surprised to hear Gavin protesting about going to school again.

In the car on the way to school, I asked him, “Gavin, do you like teacher R?”

He nodded.

Then I told him teacher R was at school and if he went he could see her.  Again he protested about going to school.

It finally occurred to me that although the principal and I had agreed to permanently move him to his favourite teacher’s class, we hadn’t officially  told him he would be in that class.  In his mind, yesterday’s experience in her class was a one off event and he had no way of knowing that he would be in that class again today.

After I explained to him that he was going to be in his favourite teacher’s class, he perked up remarkably and there were no further protests about going to school again.

It is amazing what a difference it made to Gavin being in a class with a teacher he likes.  He appears to participate in activities more and doesn’t seem to mind being with the class (instead of insisting on sitting on the outskirts like he did previously).  He even told me what he did at school besides eat.

I suspect that Gavin likes teacher R because she’s the one with all the Thomas and Friends stuff.  In the car, we were debating how many wheels James had.  In the end, I told him to ask teacher R when he got to school.  When he spotted her at the entrance to the school, he ran up to her and was so excited he could barely get his question out coherently.

I asked him to say “hello” to all his teachers including teacher M, whom he didn’t like.  That was when he stopped, hesitated and disintegrated into tears.  Suddenly he didn’t want to be at school any more and didn’t want to say “goodbye” to me.  It was hard to figure out what happened.  I don’t know if it was the realisation that I was about to leave or if it was the uncertainty about being in teacher M’s class again because I asked him to say “hello” to her.

I guess we’ll have to play it out further to see how things go.  At any rate, it’s good to see that we’ve made good progress and that he’s developing a bond with at least one of the teachers at school.

It has been said that Gavin is too shy and attached to me and often rebuffs strangers, however, in my experience, I’ve noticed that he is just a little slow to warm up.  When given the time, he does bond with others.  Aside from teacher R, he seems to have developed quite a bond with the waiter at his favourite restaurant as well.

Below: Gavin with Chloe – one of his friends that he doesn’t see very often because she lives overseas.  Despite that, he gets along with her like a house on fire whenever they meet.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

2 thoughts on “The Difference a Teacher can Make

  1. It sounds like something happened between him and teacher M that made him really unhappy. Did he tell you if something went awry in her class?

    LOL! I don’t think Gavin is shy at all. We’ve seen him and Jack go wild while playing here remember? 🙂


  2. Ah… I think it is a personality clash. I was with them the first few days and think that perhaps teacher M came on too strong before he was ready for it. I understand she had good intentions, but I guess it didn’t work with a child like Gavin who needs time to warm up slowly and be allowed to take things at his own pace. Since first impressions last, I guess it has remained with him until now.


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