The parent who sent this message told us her daughter was very worried about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. During their history lesson, students asked Mr Fox what was happening and whether he thought there would soon be another world war. Seeing how anxious the students were, Mr Fox told them he would stay back after school, explain it all to them and answer any of their questions.
Ben Fox, Head of History at Redden Court and teacher of 8 years, said:
“I always try and foster an open environment in my classroom, where students feel able to raise debate and have discussions. I’m glad they felt they could ask me about this and that I could help them. It was such a lovely surprise to get the thank you message, but it was great to know that something I did had an impact and settled a student’s mind. At the end of the day, that’s exactly what we’re here to do.”
The parent who sent the message told us:
“My three older children were also taught by Mr Fox. He’s always been really approachable and draws on his knowledge of history to help kids make sense of what is going on in the world. There’s never a silly question and kids seem to have the confidence to ask whatever’s on their mind. Mr Fox had a great influence on my older children too. He encouraged them to have aspirations and get out there and see the world. And they have. It’s great.”
Part of the school’s philosophy is to create an atmosphere in the classroom where kids are happy to make mistakes and learn from them, where they see constructive feedback as the norm. Ben wants his students to not be afraid to take risks:
“I tell my students that the most important thing is to explore their ideas, especially as history is never black and white. It’s all shades of grey. It’s important that the kids never feel like their answer is stupid. Everything is a discussion. We need to challenge those echo chambers that a lot of students live in. We need to show them other perspectives. Then, we can open up debate, and kids feel confident to ask questions and challenge ideas.”
And it was no doubt this confidence and the relationship Ben has with his students has meant they’re not afraid to ask about things that are troubling them.
Children often seek reassurance from school staff, who do so much more than teach lessons. They safeguard, they nurture, and they instil confidence and respect for others.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget all the great work schools do to offer stability and safety to students every day. But we know of countless examples where teachers and other staff go out of their way to help the children they teach.
Can you think of a member of school staff or a team you’d like to thank? You can send them a free thank you message now.
Don’t forget, National Thank a Teacher Day is on the 26th May. You can register your interest here to be among the first to receive our news and resources.