Good Monday morning,
It’s the final week of school – bring on the late evenings – and I know it’s June, not only by the lovely weather but by the calls we get this time of year from teachers struggling with their profession. For some, it’s just the weariness of the time of year and that is natural, but for many it’s simply not the right profession for them.
I had a few great teachers in my life. I say a few because that is the honest truth.
Mr. Wayne McKelvie was one. He was my grade 10 geography teacher and there is rarely a day when I don’t think about him. He did a lot of things that were totally not politically correct, including handing out the results of tests from the top to the bottom.
He was demanding and didn’t suffer fools easily, but he also went out his way to do things like starting a program to teach kids to scuba dive. He took us on a trip to Washington for spelunking and a trip to the Smithsonian. He was just plain incredible. He really cared.
One first edition book I recently purchased is called Putting the Most Into The Life by Booker T. Washington: a word to prospective teachers about putting the most into their work.
“With the average teacher, there is very little connection between the school and life as it is actually lived everyday outside the school-room. It cannot but prove of mutual advantage if the teacher can bring school life into the actual touch with the life of the people about him.” This was written in 1906, but still rings true today.
I was struck by a beautiful story written about a young 24 yr old Kindergarten teacher named Nathan Anthony Noel who had a brain aneurysm and passed suddenly. He thought of his students as “his kids”, and said things like “Every rock they throw, you gotta use as a stepping stone.” Inspiring.
I am inspired by the true impact someone can have seeing kids as their kids, not a job, not a pension, nor security or just another class. Nathan Anthony Noel, like Wayne McKelvie, are not traditional kinds of teachers, but, great teachers – and ones who touch the lives of their students as well as all of those around them.
As we end this school year, let’s take the time to appreciate the ‘great teacher;’ It is true gift to be able to teach and the great ones give their very best for our children.
Give them a note, card, gift certificate and, yes, a hug. The great teachers like the Mr. McKelvies and Mr. Noels of this world love our children and they bridge the real world with the world of dreams, breathing life into goals, making them tangible, and providing the pathway to fulfill them.
Celebrating great teachers, along the road with you,