I'm 34 years old and I am terrified of my children's teachers.
Even a friendly glance from my son's teacher is enough to reduce me to a quivering wreck. And don't even get me started on the angst I feel whenever I'm asked to sit on one of those tiny classroom chairs. All of a sudden I feel like I'm five years old again and about to be hauled to the headmistress' office for a stern talking to, or told of for chatting in class.
Why am I gripped by teacher terror and how can I overcome it?
The strange thing is I was never in much trouble at school, so it's not as if school just brings back bad memories of years of misbehaving and punishment. And I'm not alone. My friend Tahlia is convinced she suffers from an adult case of school phobia, brought on every time she has to set foot near her son's school.
"I have spent a lot of time over the last few years in and out of my eldest son's secondary school and it has been so difficult for me to separate my own school related anxieties from his! Just the smell (and I swear that all secondary schools have the same smell - its a mixture of paint, cleaning products and old carpet), makes me feel quite nervous," she explains.
Unlike me, Tahlia says she doesn't feel anxious at her son's primary school, and puts that down to the fact that it's a small church school and very family oriented. But recently she took her eldest son to the open evening of a local secondary school and when the head mistress, who just happened to have been the Deputy Head at her own school, strode on stage Tahlia thought she was going to have a coronary.
I don't have quite as bad a case of school phobia, and must stress that my son's school is like something straight out of a children's storybook - close-knit, welcoming and lovely in every way. So I can only assume that my anxiety is nothing to do with the school itself and everything to do with my own insecurities.
Just today my son's nursery teacher pulled up a tiny chair and asked me to have a seat while she lovingly and tenderly discussed a minor head injury my son had sustained earlier in the day. She couldn't have been more sweet or supportive but that teeny tiny chair still got my heart racing.
One thing's for sure - I intend to get to the bottom of those feelings and by the time my boys are ready for big school I hope to act like a big girl myself, and not break out in a sweat every time I have to set foot in a classroom.
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