Thursday, December 2, 2010

To Sir/Miss, with Respect.

It's a unique kind of burden being a high school teacher. I am again learning the ways things can weigh heavy on your heart, the things you endure just to get those little successes.

When I first started teachers' college, I thought about the few teachers who had influenced and impacted upon my life. Mostly it was the feeling that they cared about me, they took time to help me. They made me think differently, or introduced new and exciting things. I've never got around to thanking any of them, I hope I will, but I possibly may not for various reasons. I figured then that if I had that kind of impact on any of my students, I will probably never know about it, or at least not until I am very old, that is if I had any kind of impact at all. Based on that reasoning,I figured I could fool myself into thinking I was inspiring my students, they just hadn't realised it yet. Silly as it sounds, it was that thought that helped me get through many a tough day.

Since leaving the Land of the Long White Cloud, I've had a lot of my former students become my friend on facebook. For some of them, I think I am just helping to boost their friend count, but I occassionally get messages from them telling of all the activities they have been up to, their plans for the future. Last night I got a message from a girl I taught last year that really struct me. This shy, yet immensely talented young woman told me how I was one of two teachers who had literally changed her life. It must have taken a lot for her to say it, and I am all the more grateful for it.

It fills me with slight sadness that I never developed a passion for music until I was in my 20s. I would have liked to have spent my teens learning to play music, but my music teachers never took much notice of me. I think if I had been in Richard's class that might have been different, he probably would have leaped upon my shy interest and put an instrument in my hand, signed me up for lessons, said encouraging things. I think similar things about History if I had been in MoE's class, or Drama if I'd been in Fflur's class or ICT if I'd been in TSB's class (except that we didn't have computer classes when I started high school).

When I get back to school I think I might print out the message and glue it somewhere I'll see everyday, in my diary or planner maybe.


  1. Ah, Nicola, I know you have a huge effect on many students. When you get older, you'll run into grown up students in many unusual locations and their enthusiasm at seeing you will tell the story.

  2. Those sound like wise words from someone who knows.

  3. Thanks Nic, I must say I feel the same about you - and I am not just saying it cause you said all those nice things - I always loved English but sometimes I felt over looked, I am not sure why cause I always made a lot of noise in class. Perhaps they thought that all the noise and daily reports I was on meant that I wasn't interested or had nothing important to say. I remember clearly some feedback I got in 6th form for my creative writing, it was all stated like it was an immense surprise that I could actually do the work - yet I had been doing it all along, it was just accompanied by constant chatter. My point to this long story is, I was always impressed with the work you did in class and they way you knew your students so well, I don't think I would have been over looked.

  4. Thank-you Fflur that is such a touching thing to say.