Last year, I was witness to the retirement of one of my favourite teachers from my primary school years. Lucky for me, this teacher became my colleague a couple of years into my teaching career and I was fortunate enough to learn from one of the best. I saw the way he interacted with his students and I saw the relationships he formed with parents. I saw the commitment he showed to our small, yet fiercely loyal community and I saw the raw emotion that oozed from him as he sat there at his retirement presentation, as past students, past colleagues and past parents, one by one, spoke with love about this amazing man that had impacted the person that they had grown to be. I felt honoured that this man had not only taught me, but inspired me to be a teacher.
I remembered laughing in his classroom as he did the funny and ridiculous voices of Roald Dahl’s ‘Grand High Witch’. I remembered him comforting me when I embarrassingly passed out on a 40 plus day. I remember him telling me that I was going to do amazing things when I grew up. I remember him breaking down how to trade when subtracting, because my creative little Maths challenged brain just couldn’t cope.
I remember him sitting with me, teacher to teacher, and bringing me back down to earth. When I got caught up in the data and the meetings and the assessments, he reminded me that, whilst all of these things are important and part of it all, they are not what teaching is about.
And as I sit here, on the eve of another school year, he has come to my mind. And has made me reflect on what this year means for me.
I am a teacher…..a teacher who is striving to be just like him.
A teacher who interacts with her students in a way that makes them feel valued, respected and loved.
A teacher who forges strong and open relationships with the parents of her students.
A teacher whose commitment to our community is second to none. Who, when things get tough, or frustrating, or just plain exhausting, will just put her head down and continue….
Cause being a teacher is not about me. Being a teacher is about my kids, my parents and my community.
So to my kids for this year…..
And Let’s love.
If I can manage that, then I can only hope to become half the teacher who inspired me.