Updated: Jul 6, 2022
Back in 2001 I was teaching a massage class in South County Dublin. They were an exceptional class of twelve women, all wanting to learn something new, really enthusiastic, and conscientious all wanting to make a difference to their lives and those of other people.
They came from various backgrounds, from medical secretaries, to nurses, to stay at home Moms. Any information I could give them, they just soaked it in! It just made my teaching life so easy knowing that these women were interested, as a result I shared all the knowledge I had with them.
Every week I gave them a test on the lesson we had covered in the class the previous week. Just to get them back into the swing of doing exams and also the realisation that they were so capable of getting whatever result they wanted.
When it came to February just before the mid-term break, I would usually give the student an assessment sheet, with what was going well for them, what was not going so well and what they needed to work on.
These women used to meet in each other’s houses twice a week outside of class and test each other and practice as well. They were really the exceptional class as I said earlier.
After I had handed out the assessment sheets one particular student came up to me at the end of the class. She said that she had decided that maybe she wouldn’t finish the course. I looked at her in shock, as she seemed to be getting on really well. So apparently, I said to her in my best teacher voice, oh well fall at the first fence why don’t you! Oh boy was I a right biddy of a teacher then!
She then said that it was alright for me as I had it all sussed! What do you mean by that I said? Well, you have your qualifications. I said yes that’s right, nobody has it all sussed though. But I am in terrible trouble she said, and nobody can help me and started to cry bitterly.
What’s going on I said, are you sure nobody can help you because I would like to. I am in court in May for assaulting a girl in a night club. I have been going to anger management classes directed by the judge and I am so afraid that I will be sent to prison. I have a six-year-old daughter and I am dreading that day in court. What will happen to my child if that happens to me.
I suggested to her that it would not be a good idea to give upthe course as that would be to her advantage that she was back in education. Also, I would be prepared to give her a reference as to what my experience of her in the class had been, which was really good. The principal would also give her a reference I would have a chat with him.
Well, the look on the girls face I won’t ever forget it. You would do that for me? Yes of course I would, I am your advocate. You have great potential why would you throw that away; this course is a great opportunity for any mature student to start their own business or use it to go into higher education.
I did as I promised, made an appointment with the principal who was an absolute gentleman, and we gave her the letters for court.
In the meantime, we had exams. She rang me on the morning of one of her theory exams to tell me she couldn’t do it, as she had no babysitter. Grand I said bring in your daughter and I will mind her while the exam is on. More shock and surprise! I brought that little girl into the staff room where she was treated to chocolate biscuits and goodies that the principal ordered specially for her. As our college was further education, we didn’t often get the chance to have six-year-olds on the premises, so the staff made her the centre of attention for the two hours.
When the exam was over the student collected her child from me and said the exam went well, which of course I knew it would for her.
The day came for court and in she went. She was given the probation act. The joy that she expressed the next time in class was just so lovely to see.
Well, that student, I have never forgotten her, she came back the following year and added three more diplomas to her repertoire. By the way with three distinctions, which is very difficult to achieve in therapy exams. She then went on to open her own business and is a very successful therapist.
It just goes to show, what can perceive, or what we can assume! I never in a million years suspected that anything was going on like that for that student. Neither did she suspect that there were all sorts going on for me too in my background.
How easy it is to assume everything is ok when it could all be crumbling. That word assume - never make an ASS out of U and ME. It’s a really important one as we never know what’s going on for someone else.
I was so delighted she came to me that day and said she was leaving, otherwise we could have lost a really good person, student and mother into a non-functioning system, with an outcome that would have been very detrimental for that girl had she decided to throw it all away.
I love the happy ending stories, don’t you?