My daughter in Grade R was recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This came as a shock to our family and we started to do some self-evaluation as parents as to what we were doing wrong. After various consultations with a play therapist, she informed us that anxiety is generic and that we were not responsible for our daughter’s high levels of anxiety but that we (parents and teachers) are responsible for how we are going to respond to it in the future.
As Grade R learners spend the majority of the day at school, I realized that Grade R teachers play an important role in the child’s development to prepare them for formal schooling. Grade R teachers are not only responsible for a child’s academic development but they should also develop learners on a physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectual level. Are you ready to take on this big responsibility? Are you only studying to become a teacher as it is the easiest way out, or are you studying to become a caring and loving teacher, taking your learners’ emotional wellbeing into consideration? Choose wisely.
According to Gordon & Brown (2008:196), good teachers should have dedication, compassion, insight, flexibility, patience, energy, self-confidence, and a sense of humour. They add on by stating that teachers should be kind, warm, and loving, yet firm and consistent. Grade R learners deserve teachers who take time to establish a trusting and caring relationship with their learners, showing interest in their learner’s happiness, well-being, and life beyond the classroom. Are you committed to making learners your first priority, supporting and defending them? Choose wisely.
As a lecturer and a mother of a child with an anxiety disorder, I am begging you to choose wisely. Choose to encourage and support our learners. Choose to be an enthusiastic teacher, motivating and encouraging the learners. Choose to promote a supportive, warm and relaxed learning environment. Choose to motivate learners and get them excited about learning. Choose to protect their hearts and look after their well-being. CHOOSE TO BUILD UP A CHILD.
Author: Marikie Du Preez