When I was little I used to line my toys up and take attendance. We would sing morning hymns and practice our spellings. A career in Education was inevitable. But after 13 years of teaching children from Kindergarten to Grade 6, I kicked it all in to become a Mom and full-time writer. Overall I am very happy with my decision but on this #WorldTeachersDay, I thought I would take a look back and consider the things I miss the most from my time as “Miss”.
1. That Back To School Feeling
Crisp autumn days, freshly sharpened pencils, new shoes and backpack. You just don’t get that back to school feeling when your year runs January to December.
2. The Holidays
Yes, yes, I know that teachers hate it when civilians go on about how much vacation time they get, and the paperwork means much of that time is spent working- but it’s still pretty sweet when you compare it to the 2-week break most people get.
3. Your Name On Everything
In my Grade 1 classroom my name was on my classroom door, my desk, books, games, resources, timetables, display boards, attendance registers and pretty much everything else. There is something very gratifying in seeing your name displayed everywhere you go- like you belong, I think I understand why Trump does it now!
4. The Coffee Mugs
I have been out of the classroom for three years and my mugs need replacing. Every Christmas and end of year I would receive at least 6 new mugs, often with gift certificates for coffee- now I have to buy my own.
5. The Christmas Concerts
To the outsider it might look like I didn’t enjoy concerts, the month-long preparation, children forgetting their lines, falling off the stage, losing their props and generally behaving like nincompoops- but once the curtain went up, I was so proud of my little charges, often a tear would escape, especially if they sang “Away in a Manger”.
6. Practising Printing Daily
Writing in a large clear font on the whiteboard was a frequent daily occurrence and my handwriting was beautiful. Lack of practice now has my scrawl looking like a doctor’s prescription pad.
7. Reading One To One
Helping a child to read is one of life’s great pleasures. In a busy class teacher’s day, it’s a time to connect one on one, slow down, discuss the pictures, sound out words and talk.
8. The Horrified Look When Children See You Outside Of School
What a surprise it is to realize teachers exist outside of the school gates! My Saturdays used to include skulking around Walmart hoping I wasn’t seen by any students but then feeling like a movie star when they spotted me.
9. Story Time
Much of being a teacher is performing, and none more so than when you are perched on your teacher’s chair peering down at a carpet full of cross-legged children hanging on your every word as you reveal a great story to them. Character voices, dramatic pauses, sound effects and all.
10. Being An Important Part Of Children’s Daily Lives
The sentence every parent hates to hear “My teacher says…” is confirmation that you are an authoritative significant voice in a child’s day.
So on this #WorldTeachersDay, I raise (an old chipped) mug to teachers everywhere and say well done!