I watched my daughter read a piece of her work in her class assembly this week and it struck me that it is the first time in her junior school career that she has done something like that. She’s in year six and just about to leave to go to secondary school.
Being one of the quieter ones, she was never picked to do more than one line in previous class assemblies and in the three years that she did nativity plays, she only said a line in one of the shows. Busy schools seem to pick the more confident children when they put on shows or activities, as they must seem like the more reliable choices. That’s wrong though surely? For it seems to me that the confident children become more confident whilst the shy ones retreat further and further into themselves.
She moved schools in April, so having only been at this new school for a few weeks, my daughter didn’t have the experience of performing regularly in front of the parents, like the other girls have. She doesn’t even know the other parents, so for her, to stand up and read aloud was a big deal. She did brilliantly though and I think schools should know that these quiet, shy children are more than capable, if you give them the opportunity to show it.
On another note, my eight year old daughter and six year old son went to a Taekwondo grading at the weekend. They both worked incredibly hard in the run up, by practising the special patterns that they have to learn and perform and by revising the questions that they are tested on. My six year old found learning his two patterns difficult. He’s only little and it’s a lot to learn. For my daughter, this part was a breeze, but she struggles when it comes to sparring. The children have to wear special gear – helmets and pads and then showcase the moves they are taught by sparring in pairs. In practice, my daughter always seems to get clunked in the face, which hurts because she wears glasses. We have tried contacts, but she’s a bit too young at the moment, so we might need to think about softer sports glasses for the future, because as she gets bigger, the chances of getting kicked or hit in the face increases. Of course, you are not supposed to make contact with the other person, but that doesn’t mean that it wont ever happen.
Aside from the fact that I had to endure three hours of sitting on an uncomfortable chair in a sports hall that stunk of sweaty feet and had the strangest kind of lighting going on, I was incredibly proud of my two once again. They are both really into the taekwondo and being shy children, I think it’s great for their confidence, especially when it comes to occasions like these.
So I’m celebrating this week as a victory for all those shy children out there. You know you can achieve great things, even if sometimes it means pushing out of your comfort zone.