Tuesday, June 10, 2008
When I finished my practicum nearly five years ago, my sponsor teacher gave me quite the send off. She had all the students in the class write me a poem or a message, illustrate it, and then she bound it all up in a book. This was all done in secret, while she sneakily gave me time to go off into a quieter room and spend some time marking assignments. I wouldn't have been wise to her, except that the way they giggled and twittered and tried to talk in code around me definitely let me know that something was up. Grade six kids do NOT know the art of subtlety.
Sidenote: It's funny, actually, all through the practicum Sponsor Teacher and I would laugh about how NOT subtle the kids would be. From "whispering" to super secret crushes, they certainly weren't hard to figure out... which made me think back to MY pre-teen years and realize that, yeah... that super secret crush I had on Kyle Clasky, that dreamy Aussie boy who came to my school for a year and a half? EVERYBODY KNEW.
But this book "my" class made for me was a work of art. Decorated with representations of all the different things I taught them and filled with messages, it is something I look through every now and then when I need a reminder of why I do what I do.
Miss Hillary's voice can be as soft as a cloud
but when she's mad she can be loud!
She's cheerful, happy, tricky, and smart
She's even good at French and art!
I'm very glad I met Miss Hillary
because she's such a good teacher and a friend to me.
Goodbye, farewell, just don't forget me
as well as the noisy division three!
Happy personality that
Interests me a
Lot. A very
Likeable person and
An extravagant French speaker
Youthful and happy
Miss Hillary's Report Card
teaching - A+
detention - C-
Yell - A+
Report Card Comments [from a different student than above]:
1. Your voice speaks so expressively, so we don't get bored.
2. Congrats! You completed your mission in controlling us!
3. GREAT IDEAS!
Miss Hillary helps
When the students yelp
She comes to their need
They will show her a B
She will erase the B
And produce an A
[written beside a drawing] "This magnificent red raindrop tree symbolizes power and control over students"
One of a Kind Teacher, MISSING.
Around 10:00am this morning, Miss Hillary was reported missing from her classroom at McSchool Elementary. People say Miss Hillary left because her schooling was over. They said she needed to go find a real job, being a teacher and not a student teacher anymore.
"The students of McSchool Elementary are not satisfied with any of these suggestions," says Sponsor Teacher, the other teacher in the class. The children respond to her disappearance with great hardship. "I am glad other children will be able to learn the way I did. And will be in her presence. I miss it myself. Sigh." said Mally, and X-student of Miss Hillary's. Her location is still unknown but the FBI is still looking, and hope to be successful.
The drawing in the photo above is from a student in that class. She remembered me saying one time that I loved sunflowers, so at home, she did a rough drawing first then created this work of art for me. She mounted it on heavy card and tied string to each corner so that I could hang it. I was so touched at her thoughtfulness - far above and beyond what the class assignment was, it was an expression of appreciation and of generosity, and it was . I promised her I would find a place to put it up in my house, and I did. It hangs proudly in the hallway, a reminder of the very beginning of my teaching career.
It's also a reminder for me of the face that teaching is about touching lives. And I'm not talking about me touching the lives of my students, though I suppose there's that, too. The drawing for me is a reminder of how much my students have affected me. These kids... man, they make such an impact on my life. Each student makes their own little mark in their own ways, and as I near the end of my fifth year in this career, I think about students like D. What she wrote in the book touched me deeply - something every teacher wants their students to say about them - and it's students like her, students like so many others, who keep my going through the insanity, through the frustration. I love those cheery sunflowers by D for reminding me of all this, for keeping me in the game. It's so worth it.