"Teacher, he's very shy. No one can get him to talk."
Aaaaah, Yes! I just loves me a challenge...
For many teachers when parents tell them that their child won't talk they hear the angels rejoicing. (aaaaaahhh...)
Not I! On the contrary, when parents share stuff like that about their kidlet I try really, really, really hard not to arch my brow, smirk and respond with a Grinchy," Hee, hee, hee, you don't saaaaaay???"
I have to restrain myself because this is a real concern for parents and I am sensitive to that.
(I just admitted it...I am sensitive...sssh...that's just between you and me okay, keep it a secret!)
With those words, I sense the heart-wrenching fear that their baby is not going to make friends, or will be forgotten, or be bullied, or not fit in, or, or, or...
Parents, all of us, want the best for their babies. We want them to be happy,make lots of friends, and love life.
Many of us can relate to that shy kiddo too. It's dang scary to go into a room full of strangers and have to talk!
For all of those naturally extroverted people, just imagine getting up in front of a group of your peers, getting ready to present something extraordinary and then all if a sudden trying extremely hard to stifle a sneeze and... and...and then having a booger come flying out! Dang scary, I tell you!
(and nooo...I do not count myself amongst the extroverts...don't laugh...I am shy...really... stop laughin'...okay...laugh!)
Anyway, like I said before, I love a challenge and getting a shy kiddo to come out of that shell brings me joy. I know I have done my job when they flourish, feel safe and successful in my class.
So, when parents share their concern I tell them this, "Don't worry. Your child will talk and dance and sing in my class. And I promise you, by the end of the year you will hear me tell you at least once that your child missed recess for talking too much."
Now, this is how I do it.
Sit that quiet, shy, fearful kiddo right next to the most yikk-yakketity, squirrely, need to put Super-Glue in their seat darling and after about 2-3 weeks if that shy, introverted, won't say a peep to save his life kiddo doesn't get up, walk over to you while you're trying to teach your marvelous lesson on Making Inferences and says, "Teacher, he's bothering me!" I will get up on the stage at my school and sing karaoke!
Wait, I can't do that. I'm shy!