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'To my daughter's teacher, thank you for not giving up on her when many others did.'

Dear Mrs C,

It sounds super cliche, but becoming a parent is the biggest gift I have ever been given. 

Despite the constant influx of advice I heard over and over again about a baby being the biggest love of your life and that you would do literally anything for them, I never believed it. 

How could a person that I knew nothing about really take a hold of me like that? It felt completely ridiculous.

But then I met her. And my world going forward was changed forever.

We spent every day together. We went to the park, picnicked with our mother’s group, and caught the ferry over the river to explore. My days were happy and content spent with her. 

Daycare came and went in a blur once I went back to work. She grew up so quick and was the smartest little human I knew. I was so proud of how well she could read, write, and play. 

She developed a very strong-willed character and could at times be selfish or not quite understand other’s emotions, but I knew that she was dealing with her own feelings and was trying to communicate. All we had to do was talk it through together and it would be okay.

I was certain that no one could ever love or understand her like I could.

And I was right. 

Watch: School is all about five-minute moments: Don't be a bully. Post continues after video. 


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Her first four years of primary school were nothing short of traumatic. For both her and me. 

From the minute her shiny black shoes entered the school gates, she was an outcast. Firstly, thanks to the circle of mums whose daughters were all in the same class as her. Any parent or child who didn’t operate within this circle was brushed aside. 

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The girls wanted to be friends with her but the mums wouldn’t have a bar of it. If it wasn’t a daughter from their sisterhood, they weren’t playing with them. She didn’t know it at the time, but this was the first time my daughter felt what it was like to be treated unfairly.

Secondly, it was by her teacher. After the first few weeks, she had her mind made up that my daughter was just a trouble-maker. She rushed through her work and was disruptive in class. When I explained that it was because she was bored and needed more work or harder work to do, I was laughed at. 

"Surely you know your daughter better than that," they told me. And I did. Which is why I knew what the problem was and tried to help rectify it. 

Over the next three years, my daughter experienced challenge after challenge. She didn’t know where she fitted in and every friend she tried to make would eventually disown her because she was 'too loud', 'too bossy', or a 'smarty-pants' in class. 

She was overlooked for extra-curricular activities and not invited to parties. Her heart was slowly breaking a little more every day, mine along with it. 

I knew that she could be a little over the top sometimes and maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but can’t we all? She was just starting out in the big wide world and trying to make sense of it all and find her place. She needed support and encouragement, not another person at school just giving up on her.

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For fourth grade, we moved from the city to a nice coastal town where everything was slower, and less noisy and demanding.

It’s here that we met you, Mrs C.

From the minute she arrived at your school, she was warmly welcomed. The kids jumped up to say hello and asked her to play with them at lunchtime. You facilitated this, and I can’t thank you enough. 

She came home from her first day absolutely beaming. She made friends whose names she quickly rattled off and had been invited to join the band and participate in an English competition.

Throughout the year, she’s needed help to navigate friendships, harsh words and bad decisions and you’ve always made yourself available to lend an ear. She’s told you when she’s been picked on or when she’s worried for a friend. She trusts you. 

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You recognised her talent and when she would slack off in class, you would call her on it. Not because you were annoyed that she rushed her work or socialised too much, but because you understood her potential. 

You acknowledged her love of and interest in Indigenous culture so you asked her to read the Acknowledgement of Country at the school assembly. You know how much she loves to dance, so you encouraged her to join the dance group. All of these things she didn’t do at her former school because she wasn’t given the opportunity or because she was too scared to.

When she danced with her friends at the school's showcase dance evening, I cried. She looked so happy and danced so confidently. I remembered how much she wanted to dance at her old school but was bullied out of joining the group by another student. Seeing her there that night really signified how far she had come with the support of people who care about her.

We’re almost at the end of fourth grade now, and her sassiness is still there. She can get a bit excited and sometimes forgets to think before she speaks. But you don’t get angry at her or call me into the school to discuss her behaviour. Instead, you do what I do - you sit her down and talk about what might be causing her to act this way. You listen to her. 

The biggest gift you can give a child is the encouragement to be themselves and be there to listen when they feel like they can’t.

Mrs C, you have allowed my little girl to do just that and there are honestly no words that could truly express how grateful I am to you.

My daughter loves school. She has lovely friends and has a much bigger social life than I do. I never thought I would see the day that she would be hosting her own Halloween party for all of her friends to come and have fun together.

On this World Teachers' Day, I want to say thank you. Thank you for being that missing piece in her school life that she can go to, talk to and feel encouraged by. 

You make school life enjoyable and educational. And most of all, somewhere she wants to be.

On behalf of Mamamia and Safe On Social we extend our heartfelt thanks to teachers everywhere today, and always.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo from Getty.

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