Because I’m rather sarcastic and annoying, I don’t have many BFFs.
But what I do have is a BTF – Best Teacher Friend.
(And yes – I just created “BTF”, you heard it here first, and I call dibs on it.)
It all started about six years ago, when my son was in Mrs E’s Reception class. On the first day of school, we walked in and found a warm, cheerful woman, who was obviously really happy to be there.
Yep, Mrs E had me at “Good morning.”
I had a feeling that we’d hit the teacher jackpot, and as the year went on, that feeling became an obvious fact. Mrs E was an excellent teacher. She was caring, understanding, and patient with the class; and also with the parents. She made the whole process of the school transition so easy with her calming charm.
All of us mums loved her. And that made it hard to resist taking things to the next level; a friendship of sorts.
Because Mrs E was so supportive, and because she really seemed to understand my son, I came to rely on her advice about all sorts of parenting issues. In the absence of co-parenting, it was good to be able to debrief with someone who knew my kid well. A mother of two gorgeous kids herself, she was so honest about the fears we all have for our offspring, it was a relief to talk to her and hear her opinions.
And she was funny. Talking to her was like sunshine on my face. I always felt better afterwards.
Even after we left her class, I’d return to Mrs E for her insight. I have no doubt I was a total pain in her ass. But she had heart of gold and never denied me her time.
If you’re thinking, “Nama, you are a horrible needy woman, and poor Mrs E who’s been forced to listen to you crap on about yourself and your problems”, you’re totally right. The most I’ve ever given Mrs E in return is the joy of seeing my many witty Facebook posts, after we became FB friends.
But despite this completely one-way street, there’s an extra special thing Mrs E has done for us over the years. As an avid photographer, she would often be at school events with her camera, and soon after, I would get a text or an email with amazing photos of us.
It happened again recently, despite it being six years since she taught my son. I got a text: “Look what I found in an old file.” It was this old photo of my then angel-baby:
My ratbag, aged five.
Mrs E knew what it would mean to me to have this. I had seen her earlier in the day at a school event, and introduced her to my mother. She said to mum, “You have a beautiful daughter.”
Liar, but still, what a nice thing for her to say. Typical Mrs E.
So when I got the text with yet another photo to treasure, I replied, “I told mum you’re my best teacher friend!”
Because that’s exactly what Mrs E means to me. She’s my BTF.
Should kids have a best friend at school?Post continues after audio.)
Next year we’re moving interstate and Mrs E will be one of the saddest parts of leaving the school. I want her to know that the kindness she’s shown me wasn’t taken for granted, and that it made a real difference to my sanity many times.
We’ve been so lucky to have so many excellent teachers at my son’s school, but I’m especially thankful for my BTF, who is, no doubt, a BTF to many other parents, too.
Because that’s just how Mrs E rolls.
Nama Winston is a writer, whose favourite phrase is "now back to me", and passions include a deep desire for us all to be just bloody nicer to each other. You can follow her on Facebook.
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