Teachers discouraging reading

This story somehow reminded me of the young Sillsallad’s struggles when it came to reading.

I learnt how to read before pre-school, so around 4-5, if I remember it correctly I was the only child in pre-school that could read. Once a day we sat down in a circle to sing. Everyday a kid got to pick the song by pulling a card out of 10, completely at random if you couldn’t read the lyrics on the back. When my turn was up, I quickly read the lyrics and then picked my favorite song. My teacher lost it and yelled at me in front of everyone, saying how that’s unfair and cheating. I was sent to time-out and wasn’t allowed to play with the rest in the “activity room”.

In first or second grade we had a book to read. Our homework was usually to read a few pages of that book. I was bored at my “day care mother”* because the other kids were several years younger, so I read all of the book. Of course, this teacher also lost it and yelled at me, because I had an unfair advantage on the other kids.

In our fifth grade our teacher gave the entire class a challenge. After reading a book we were encouraged to write a short review and stick it to the classroom wall. If we wrote enough reviews to make it around the entire room, she’d prepare a surprise for us at the end of the year. Guess what? The teacher got mad because I read too much (3-4 books a week) and told me that my book reviews didn’t count.

Looking back, I find it sad that none of these teachers just gave me extra books/assignments, when it was obvious that I enjoy to read. Instead, they actively tried to stop me from reading.

*“Day care mother”, I don’t know if there’s a proper word for this in English, nanny doesn’t have the same feel to it. It’s someone professionally looking after kids for a few hours at their home. Usually 5-10 kids, like a mini kindergarten.


I didn’t encounter teachers as bad as that, but my mom did get a stern talking to for ‘forcing’ me to read way too much at too young an age.

The ‘forcing’ involved giving me free access to her entire collection of comic books - Lucky Luke, Tintin, Smurfs, Donald Duck, all of that. Sure the pictures are nice, but the words tell the story so I read. And read. And read.


I know a baby-sitter is more like someone whom “comes to the parents’ house in late afternoon/early evenings and watch over the child and normally is a teenager” but for some unknown reason that we called the woman whom watched me when I was little for a few hours we called her a baby-sitter.

To me, a baby sitter isn’t usually professionally trained, nor do they look after a motley crew of kids from different families on a daily basis. It’s more like a small at-home kindergarten

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Yeah… I know - I’m just saying for some reason my family called something like your “Day-care mother” a baby-sitter even though that isn’t what she was but no one knows the reason for it.

A day care mom is either a nanny or a governess

Ive noticed that a good portion of teachers have this view of an ideal student not as one that learns or grasp materials well or even one that tries particularly hard. But rather the “ideal student” is one that stays exactly on line for where they are supposed to be based on the curriculum. Not ahead or behind but at the absolute peak of the bell curve.


I’m sorry you experienced that — that sucks. I hope you weren’t dissuaded from reading!

In the US:

  • A babysitter is someone of any age whose job is just to look after a family’s kids while the usual caregivers are away/unavailable, usually short term, sometimes on a schedule and sometimes only when needed. It’s usually in the family’s own home, but sometimes in the babysitter’s home.
  • A daycare is basically group babysitting in a facility (or daycare provider’s home) instead of in the kids’ own home, and workers there are generally called daycare providers or daycare workers.
  • A preschool is a little more formal and learning-based than a daycare, usually specifically for ages 3–4 or so, and workers there are often called preschool teachers (possibly whether or not they have any formal training/certification; I’m unsure on that), or if they don’t have a teaching role then assistants, aides, workers, etc.
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I wouldn’t call any such job title “governess”, nor would they be a nanny, who would be privately hired. The usual term here would be daycare teacher or worker.

When my fifth-grade teacher noticed me (baby adhd then undiagnosed) reading under the table while being very unmotivated about assigned readings, she changed things up for me and instead had me write book reports on books I chose (and actually read them! and graded them! and was probably very amused by my bizarre and aggressive hatred of stuart little!)
She was fantastic and I wish more teachers were like her. I was so upset when sixth grade teacher turned out to be way way worse.


Some people go into teaching to teach kids. Other people go into to teaching to be in control of children.

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Absolutely not! Still love to read :slight_smile:

I did some research on the day mum thing in Sweden.
Dagmamma/dagpappa (Day mum/day dad) is the everyday term for what is called “familjedaghem” (family day care/kindergarten). It is really just a small kindergarten that someone runs from their personal home. They have the same regulations and requirements as a regular kindergarten.


I’m relieved that your love of reading survived exposure to noxious Tall Poppy Syndrome…and your 5th grade class’s challenge has jogged my own memories of 5th grade – fortunately positive ones, as our teacher was hugely supportive of everyone’s efforts.

He had a neat little geography tie-in, in which students were awarded points for presenting oral reports on the books that they read (tied to page count, with modifiers for any literary awards a book had received). These points could then be spent to “buy” states on a map (this is the U.S.).
During the course of the year, a few students managed to complete the set of 50, so he specced out point values for as many other nations around the world as there was student interest in pursuing – not for a mark, grade, or any real benefit; just for the challenge of it.

By the end of the year he was reaching for astral bodies just so I would have stuff to spend points on.
Miss you, Randall.