Nuggets from the Communities – the story of Silvie

  • SumoMe



Some of the best blogs I’ve read are those that I consider to be ‘real’.  That means they are written about real life events, real stories, the adventures, trials and tribulations of people and they sometimes help us to see a little bit of ourselves, digging out a path that we need to take, helping us to get where we need to be.

I have known Silvie for many years (I’ve changed her name for anonymity) and learned a lot from her progress. You may want to read it, hopefully I can give her story the write up it deserves.



Silvie was brought up as the youngest in a large family, with 4 brothers and 2 sisters.  Both her parents worked hard, and the children were quite independent, often coming home from school to cook tea at an early age and looking after each other.

She was a quiet and shy child, preferring not to compete for attention from her louder siblings and rarely conversed with her parents but was very close to her sister, who was 3 years older.  They walked to school each morning and chatted until her sister moved to high school.  She missed their morning chats and became withdrawn, choosing to distance herself from school friends due to a lack of confidence as she neared the age of 10.

When Silvie moved up to high school her calm quiet world was interrupted, and she became the target of a number of bullies. For most of her teenage years she dreaded school and could not express herself well enough to ask for help.  Her school work deteriorated and when one of the older boys became interested in her she very quickly started relying on his friendship.

Silvie had her first baby at the age of 15. It was a relief to leave school early and become engrossed in her new born child.  She rarely left her parents house, and paid little interest in maintaining friendships.  All her siblings left home before they reached 18.  All her brothers and sisters were married before they were 20 and her boyfriend gave up on her when she was 24 weeks pregnant.  Her parents continued to work hard and supported Silvie.

Silvie would spend the majority of her day sorting out the baby and cleaning the house. She describes those days as ‘an odd mixture of a safe haven away from the bullies, and extreme loneliness.’ She felt she had no one to turn to, no friends and she felt her family were ashamed of her.

At her baby’s second birthday there were 4 people, the baby, Silvie, her mother and her oldest sister.  Having been brought up in a large family Silvie yearned for large family gatherings, a house and husband, but felt that she was not worth any attention. The birthday party made her take a look at her own daughter and think about what she wanted her life to be like, she broke down in tears and was inconsolable for most of the night.  It was her oldest sister that suggested she should do a college course on something that interested her.  Silvie still had fears of school and would not consider it, until her sister encouraged her to go along to an open day, they went together.  Silvie’s sister had wanted to sign up for a course to enhance her work at the school where she worked as an admin, and Silvie just tagged along and did the same course, although she wasn’t sure she would actually turn up on the first day, but it kept her sister happy.  They both enrolled on the Access to Education course, and Silvie agreed to take her Maths and English to reach the required level.

Both of them turned up on the first day, cajoled by each other, and never missed a day of the course.  Silvie’s daughter thrived at the college nursery as did Silvie, who made two good friends during that year.  They graduated and both went on to complete a teaching degree, despite many years in high school being convinced they could not achieve.

During her teaching degree Silvie had lots of crisis in confidence, often on the verge of leaving the course due to her lack of confidence in herself. Her friends and her sister would consistently boost her confidence and keep her going.  As part of the course she had to complete at least one day a week voluntary work at a school, and she found this nerve racking at first.  After six weeks she felt like she had always been there and she says that has been one of the most positive experiences for her.  It helped to build her confidence and develop her skills within a happy and safe environment.

She chose primary school teaching, and admits that she still feels apprehensive towards high school due to her experiences.  She also does some work for Ofsted as a consultant, she says it’s her ‘fight against under performing schools that make children’s lives a misery.  It should not be allowed to happen.’.

She’s been married for 10 years to a man she met at university, they have had two more children and just moved into the house of her dreams.  She says she’s learned a lot from her journey, particularly how tackling her fears have changed her life, she has benefited tremendously from understanding the value of education, and volunteering, particularly doing something she really enjoys.

She suggests that we must all learn to communicate and value each other.  A lot of her childhood problems stemmed from not knowing how to communicate, and she assumed that she was not valued.  She now has an excellent relationship with her mother who always saw her as the ‘dependable ray of sunshine’ in the family, whereas Silvie thought she always got in the way and was a nuisance to her mother.  Silvie encourages her children to communicate well, she says it’s important to give them lots of hugs and attention to make sure they know how much they are valued.

Silvie is a content person, who is inspiring, and I wholeheartedly thank her for allowing me to put her story in print.



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