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Miss Dianne is concerned about pupil Sjors (10): ‘He is getting quieter and his results are plunging’

Tuesday morning. The children trickle into the classroom. I’m tired. My toddler daughter woke me up four times last night. Suddenly I get a pat on my back. Without looking back, I know whose: Sjors (10). He always feels flawlessly how it is to me. “Are you okay with the teacher?” he asks. Sjors, a teddy bear with brown hair and brown eyes, is the sweetest boy in the class. A pleaser. Always fun and nice to other children. If there is a fight, he is the peacemaker. He is also a great student: he is smart, perfectionist and works very hard. He never scores below an eight.

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But lately I’ve been concerned about him. The lights in his beautiful eyes have disappeared. His shoulders hang. In the break he no longer plays football. His results plummet.

Table diploma

This morning we have a table exam. During the break I check everything. Everyone passed the test. Except Sjors. At ‘0 x 5 =’ he entered ‘5’, at ‘9 x 5 =’: ’50’; mistakes he would never normally make. In the afternoon it goes through the class like wildfire: Sjors has not passed his dinner diploma. Everyone is a bit upset. Fixed values ​​should not shift.

“Sjors, can you help me clean up the computer room after class?” I ask. I know he likes that, help. While we sort the mess I say: “We will do the dinner diploma again the day after tomorrow, okay?” He nods dully. I pick up the trash can and say I feel like he is worrying about something. And that he therefore cannot concentrate. After much insistence, he tells me that his aunt is ill, and that his mother is sad about it. And that he doesn’t know how to help her.

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In the evening I call his mother, Maartje. She has also been concerned about Sjors for a while. He sleeps badly, is often nauseous. I ask her how her sick sister is doing. “How do you know my sister is sick?” she asks. I tell her that George is worried about her because she is worried about her sister. Maartje is surprised. Her sister has been depressed for a while and Maartje is worried about that, but she talks about it as little as possible at home, so as not to burden her family. Her eldest and her youngest sons simply go about their business with satisfaction, just like her husband Erik. But Sjors’ antennae, her middle one, are flawless.

Feelers can be annoying things. Especially for perfectionist people with a lot of friends and loved ones, who want to please them all. People like Sjors. I regularly have children with some form of autism in the classroom; they have to learn to empathize with others. But there are also children who have the opposite. Who feel too well the grief of others and are bothered by it. Sjors is one of them.

I give Maartje the number of a child therapist who has helped many of my pupils out of trouble. Sjors can best learn now to keep his feelers in check. To be a little less perfectionist, a little less compassionate for others. He will do his very best. I will miss his pats.

This article has previously appeared in Kek Mama.

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