As we wind up one school year, and move into the next, I have once again hit the same January realisation that I always do. That the beautiful little souls that I spent more time with in 2018 than my own children, are moving on. In a few weeks they will begin Year 2, and Mrs Ismay and Year 1 will be a distant memory. They will be busy learning the next section of the curriculum, making new friends, developing relationships with new teachers and so on and so forth, until in the blink of an eye they will be graduating Year Six, and some, I will never see again. It’s hard, as a teacher, to say goodbye to your kids every year. Kids that you are so invested in, kids that you care for, kids that you love.
And then will come the time, as has happened just this week, when as past students, they will stop you in the street. They will be so tall that you barely recognise them. The boys will be men and the girls will be confident, strong young women, and they will take you straight back to the year that they spent with you. They will share all of the things that they remember, all of the funny things that you used to say and do, the songs you used to sing and the dances you used to dance. They will remember how you spent your whole lunch break with them because they couldn’t find their friends. They will remember how you gave them a hug, and wiped their tears when their friends were being mean. They will remember how you spent your prep time in the mornings meeting their car at the drop off zone because they were too nervous to try and do it alone.
You may or may not be a teacher. You may or may not have children. But you did go to school. And so you know. You get what it is that makes teachers so important in our children’s lives. School teachers, soccer coaches, dance teachers, swimming teachers.
The good ones are all the same.
What’s in a teacher?
They care, they are invested and they see your child. No matter how quiet, loud, boisterous or calm. No matter whether they excel in whatever it is….school, dance, soccer…..or whether they need that extra support, encouragement or a different approach. A good teacher sees your child.
As a working mother, one of my favourite sayings has always been, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’
And man, do we have a village!
My parents that help us out with drop offs and pick ups, with babysitting and with just giving us a break.
My friends, who always seem to sense when one of us in near breaking point and step in to lend a hand (or pass the wine!).
My neighbours, the parents of my kids’ friends, my siblings….They have all become part of this crazy parenting village.
But at this time of year, with the same realisation that I have every year, I have also realised that the teachers in our life have also become a very strong part of that village.
It was my son’s classroom teacher last year, who always seemed to know what to say and do to calm my, and his, anxiety. He learnt so much last year, and not just from the curriculum.
It was my daughter’s dance teachers, who were such a strong presence throughout one of the hardest years of her life. Major spinal surgery (that’s a blog for another day!) on a 15 year old ballerina is life changing, and the amazing, strong, determined young woman that has emerged on the other side is not just the result of the support that she received from her family. It also came from the teachers in her life that were invested in her, not only as a dancer, but her as a 15 year old girl who needed their love, support and strength.
I like to feel that I have a big impact on the amazing young people that my children are becoming. I like to think that my husband and I are doing a kick arse job at raising these kids. But the truth is, it’s not just us. The teachers in their lives need to be given their credit in this too.
It’s so important to surround our children with amazing people. People who mentor them, who they look up to. People who are not their parents but love them and care for them like they are.
People like teachers.