Some teachers will stay with you forever.
Miss Brown was one such teacher for me. In a sea of unkind, cruel faces she smiled. That’s what I remember about her. That she smiled and sometimes all it takes is someone smiling at you when you are a little person overwhelmed by eczema, family conflict, and maths to know that the world is okay.
My son may or may not remember his Grade 1 teacher but I will. She’s the kind that makes each child feel like they have their very own personal tutor and cheerleader. I have watched him grow and flourish under her covert strategy to “stretch” him. Teachers like her are rare and we are the lucky few.
Then there are those teachers who really should not be teachers and boy, oh boy, have I had some of those in my life. Back when corporal punishment was still allowed at school in South Africa (yes, I am giving away my age), one particular teacher who I still have the displeasure of seeing as an adult, took his role as “disciplinarian” so far, that many of the children that he beat up still have PTSD as adults.
Another gremlin teacher was the one who in my last year of high school, when I called the home phone (again, I am giving away my age) of the young gentleman who I had romantic links to…took the phone away from him and spoke to me. Yes, she was at his home and she was not there to give him English lessons. She made that very clear to me.
It was World Teachers Day last week. I wrote a couple of thank you notes. I also processed some of the old emotions related to teachers that were not so cool. That’s how these little memories came into story form now.
It’s also the reason I need to give a shout out to my MOM friends who have to be teachers every day of their lives but have also had to formally become teachers this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Girls, I see you. I see you struggling to keep yourself sane. I see you carrying the emotional load of your family. I see you trying to create balance. I see you dying of loneliness. I see you having to put your dreams on hold for another year. I see you watching as things fall apart. I see you cooking endless meals, doing endless shopping, providing snack after snack. I see you trying to limit screen time while seeing the need for technology. I see you having to deal with your judgy in-laws, neighbours, and the rest of the peanut gallery. I see it all.
…and I salute YOU! This Teachers Day and always because we are all in the shit together.
May history judge us kindly.