Going to school is supposed to be an exciting time. But, for some people it can be terrifying. If your child is scared of school, you have to get to the root of the problem. Talk to your kids. And don’t minimize anything that is bothering them. If it is bothering them it is important. The littlest things can cause big problems. Not liking the bus, not being able to see the blackboard, a bully, the list is endless.
I didn’t like the first grade. I liked what I was learning, I had lots of friends and I liked being at school all day. I rode the bus to school and thought I was cool.
But there was a problem. My teacher. I did not like her at all. She yelled all the time, and had a paddle that she was not above using if you looked at her wrong. She was a former nun who worked in a Catholic School for many years until she retired. Whatever made them hire her for a first grade teacher in a public school? I have no idea.
I became acquainted with her paddle once. That was all it took. I was in class and she was asking a question. I put my hand up and waited for her to call on me. She pointed right at me, or so I thought, and I yelled out the answer. I wanted her to know how smart I thought I was. Well, it turns out that she was calling on the girl in front of me. Out came the paddle. I didn’t even get a chance to explain.
After that, every day around lunch time I would go to the office complaining of a stomach ache. This went on for a week and then the nurse started calling my mother. I went home a few times. Then my mother and the secretary realized that something was wrong. But what?
When my mom talked to the teacher she gushed about how well behaved I was. She told my mother that I could be promoted to the second grade because she felt I was not being challenged enough. Perfect I thought. I can escape. But, no. My parents felt that I was not mature enough for that.
One day my brother, who was in sixth grade, heard about me being paddled. He told my parents. They called the school and found out this was true. I explained what happened. We went in for a conference with the teacher and the principal. I thought I was going to get in more trouble but everything worked out okay. The teacher didn’t realize I was so upset about the incident. She retired her paddle for the rest of the year, and retired from teaching the next year.
I look back at it now and realize that I was an extra sensitive kid. My parents didn’t have to spank me often and I didn’t like it at all. If no one had found out I don’t know if I ever would have liked school again. I was scared. And when you are scared at that age you try to get out of the situation any way you can. I really did feel sick but now know that was anxiety. I was afraid to speak in class for fear I would be paddled again, and embarrassed in front of all of my classmates.
Talk to your kids if they are afraid. Ask them questions. Listen to what they have to say. It may be a small thing, it may be a big thing. Whatever it is, you have to work together to show there is nothing to fear.