Over the years I’ve been entrusted with parents’ most precious gift, their child. To help form them and to begin an amazing learning journey with other children. Strong bonds and friendships have been formed as a result of the trust and belief we have had in each other.
Children generally like to know their boundaries and most work within these. Some more adventurous ones are always ready to test any boundaries. I’ve worked with many spirited children over the years. One year I had a group of boys who liked to see just how long it was safe to make me and the other children wait at the end of the playtime break before they joined the group. My patience ran out so I took the children inside and locked the door. This wasn’t lost on the boys, as within a few days, they had arranged that the children go into class on the bell and lock me out. Of course they did manage to pick a time when the keys were in the classroom and not in my pocket!
The openness of young children is something I’ve always admired. They say things as they are and are just as blunt with some of their questions. I guess religious individuals are always a bit of a mystery to them. One child’s inquisitiveness demanded that I explain how many proper clothes I have. After a short discussion, she was satisfied, yet surprised, and said, “You had only two proper clothes, your night dress and your bathers?!”
I always set the bar high for the children. We did not aim for the horizon, we went beyond that and headed for the stars. We celebrated many achievements along the way.
Over the years, education has continued to evolve as it seeks to meet the needs of children and ever changing world. Fortunately the principals and staff I’ve worked with throughout my time in education have always seen the need for children to enjoy being children and not seek success or achievement alone.
Being known to the students and their families helped many children feel safe and secure. For a number of years, I endeavoured to visit each family early in the year. Schools are sometimes threatening places even for parents, so meeting them on their own ground was less daunting.
My years of teaching have always being supported and enhanced by the principals with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work. While their gifted-ness varied, they all brought something special to the school. Each related well to the staff, children and wider school community.
In the latter part of my teaching life, I have been privileged to train and work as a Reading Recovery Teacher, thus providing an opportunity for young children to learn to read, to write and enjoy literacy. These children have not progressed at the same rate as their peers. This acceleration program meets the needs of most children who have been identified as needing extra support. This is most rewarding for the child as s/he makes sense of reading and writing his/her own self confidence blossoms.
Despite the many challenges and hard work of teaching young children, the rewards give me the incentive to keep opening the doors to new learning for those entrusted to me.