DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS STORY
E. is a first grader who started our school when she was 5 years and 7 months old. E. sat uneasily in the classroom as if she were afraid of the things. As the days passed, E. began to be absent from class. It was quite easy for me to take note of each student as the number of students in the class was low. And, it did not take long for me to realize the situation E. was in. Why was E. uneasy? Why was she staring at me with fearful eyes? Why was she not coming to school?
I started paying closer attention to E.. She was afraid of me. In fact, I realized that she was timid and afraid of adults. I got in touch with her family to find out the reason for this condition. E.’s family is very poor when the socio-economic status of the family is considered. Her father does not have a regular job. He is working with subcontractors as a temporary employee. They suffer financially as a family. The father is the head of the family and displays violent uncontrolled behavior. He beats the mother and her children at every turn. Normally, this situation affects E. badly. E. supposed that everything can be solved by beating, hitting and also believed that her elders would always beat her.
At last, I understood why E. was behaving like this. She was under the threat of violence by her elders and thought that she would also be in the same situation at school. So, she was running away from both school and home. She slept on the ground and slept in the trees where she climbed and hided. She collected garbage outside. Her life was completely miserable. She liked nobody and did not want to go to school.
E. couldn’t have become accustomed to school while having such a life. While her peers had already learnt how to read and write, she was still having difficulty in getting used to school life.
I showed her unconditional love while her situation was like this. Certainly it was not contrived and I thought of winning her over. I behaved towards her in such a way that she would feel worthy. E. was slowly getting used to me and also liked me. She noticed I really liked her unconditionally. She was aware that I wouldn’t hit her. I approached her with love when asking her to do something. She understood that not all of her elders would hit and hurt her. She slowly dispelled her prejudices.
I thought all this would not be enough, and decided to take E. to the rehabilitation center (SAYEM) based in Sarıyer Municipality. She began to receive counseling on a regular basis from the psychologists. She talked freely with self-confidence there and spoke of everything on her mind. In this way, she ensured her contribution to the process of change.
Education at school or just psychological therapy for E. was not enough. One of the main problems was the bad situation at home which seriously needed to be fixed. I did interviews with her parents constantly. They also had to be trained in a way or else what I did for E. would be a total waste of time. When she went home, all the progress she had made would be destroyed.
The affection I showed her and the psychological support she received began to show positive effects in E.’s life. E. began to attend school regularly and was also getting used to school. She became a regular class participant in an active way. It seemed that the child who once was unsettled and looked with frightened eyes at the world was completely gone. The child that showed violent behavior because she was abused at home was disappearing. She began to treat her friends with love. She was no longer getting things done by fighting but settled them with love instead. E.’s situation was definitely improving.
The child who had not wanted to come to school before started to write and became able to read easily then.
If E. had had a harsh school principal, it would have been a much worse situation. At the very beginning, we would have lost her because she would have judged all her elders and the situations that she had experienced in the same way. However, this did not happen. E. was in a different area that she had never encountered in school environment before. This new environment was what should always have been, but her family actually provided her with very bad conditions. E. would be inclined to choose a similar form of violence and that way the violence would continue.
Interest that was showed at school and in the classroom was such that it was completely different and E. had never experienced it in life before. Neither the teacher nor the school principal displayed violent behavior against her. They loved her unconditionally very much. E. realized it and thought that not all her elders would hurt her. The biggest factor in the change of E.’s situation was the principal and the teacher’s attitude towards her this way.
In this episode, psychological support had an effect on E’s problem as much as the principal’s effectiveness. Psychological help has always been influential for individuals to have a balanced temper and a good state of mind. This effect began to show itself naturally when I succeeded in persuading E. to meet with the psychologist. These kind of rehabilitation centers established by municipalities assist individuals in the area to a great extent.
Another factor in the success was that the principal talked with the family. If the school principal had not talked with them, he could not have sorted out what the problem was. Even if he had found out the problem, he would never have been successful. Thanks to the continuously held meetings and negotiations with the family their behaviors towards E. have also changed. It also has revealed how dialogues between parents and teachers at school are important.