Think for a few moments and I'll bet you'll be able to come up with at least one teacher who inspired you, who challenged you, and who had some part in making you who you are today. Teaching isn't an easy profession and yet it has long lasting effects on our youth and the shape of our society.
As today is World Teacher Day, I hope you'll indulge me a little and allow me to go off topic to share a few stories and memories from my school days and the teachers who made an impression on a very impressionable young me.
One of my earliest teacher memories is of Mrs. Jamieson, my 2nd grade teacher, who had to explain to our class that Jeffrey wouldn't be coming to school anymore because he was hit and killed by a car while riding on his bike on the weekend. That must have been a really rough day for her. But she did what she had to do with compassion and tenderness and taught us a bit about life and death that day.
Skip ahead a few years and who could forget high school English teacher, Mr. Bird? He yelled at us, stomped around the room, scared us half to death...but also inspired me to write some of my most passionate essays and awakened in me a real love for good writing.
Then there was my highschool physical education teacher, Mrs. Carss, who cut me from the senior girls volleyball team because of my bad attitude. I loved volleyball so much, but she was absolutely right. So I swallowed my pride, helped out during the off-season with the boy's team and tried out again the next year, this time having no problem making it. That year I learned an important lesson about how it's not just skill that counts.
And finally, one teacher that unwittingly shaped my future...Mr. Stead. He meant well, I'm certain, but it felt like he managed to single me out as the lone girl in my computer science class of all boys ("Now, Ruth, are you sure you understand how the Do...While loop works?"). However, it was during his grade 12 class that I discovered that I enjoyed the rush of solving difficult problems and getting the computer to do what I wanted it to do. It was that class where I learned that I could comprehend computers as well as any other person, boy or girl, and it was that class that inspired me to take computer science in university.
So a big THANK YOU to all the teachers who put up with me and taught me over the years. You gave me the skills for life long learning and taught me how to succeed.
Thank you Ruth for taking the time to acknowledge teachers in our lives. It struck a special chord with me since I spent a good part of my life teaching -- starting around 1980. I always considered it a special privilege to teach and as you remember your teachers, I also remember all my students. Someone told me that how and what you teach can influence 3 generations so you better get it right. So, I always considered teaching a partnership, and a life one at that. I left teaching in 2005 however my fondest memories come from those days: sharing, collaborating, and learning from each other.