I love this time of the year. My favorite season being Autumn, I love the days prior to it too, when the schools are about to open. There’s a certain buzz around that you do not find during the rest of the year. Wherever you go you see kids with their parents shopping for clothes, for shoes, and for school uniforms. There’s an excitement everywhere that matches none other during the year. Shops and department stores carry ‘Back To School’ deals almost everywhere in the city.
For years I have shopped for stationery first as a parent for my children and then as a teacher for myself. Even though I am not teaching anymore and my kids are in university, I still get the jitters when I enter a bookstore or a stationery store. To keep the tradition alive I merely buy small things like paper or pens. The feeling and the enjoyment that I get out of it is different since I don’t have any scholastic responsibilities anymore. I don’t have to worry about buying the wrong items or forgetting to buy necessary items.
Two days ago, I accompanied my daughter to Bureau En Gros (aka Staples). While she was doing her shopping I took the opportunity to browse around. The store was packed with kids and their parents. The sound of moving carts and kids talking in their high voices unable to contain their excitement was like music. Parents with lists in hand were pushing their carts while their children moved around filling them. From the very young to the teenagers, they were all shopping. I stood there among the little ones running helter skelter, the light shining in their eyes every time they came across what they were looking for, and watched. The innocence, the energy, and the vibe emanating from them was so positive.
And I thought, these kids and their parents are so hopeful about a new school year. Wouldn’t it be great if they felt this way throughout the whole year? I wondered how many of these kids here would be lucky enough to meet their dream teacher, the teacher who would not only help them with their lessons but be the one to motivate them, be their mentor and help pave the way to higher education and bigger achievements. What if they came across a teacher who broke their spirit and shattered their dreams?
“There’s no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another.” E.B. White
Years of teaching and being involved in the administration of a school has taught me otherwise. I have met teachers of all walks of life; if it were up to me I would have ejected some of them from the school premises. I’ve met others who have made me wish to be a student again.
“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl Jung
What kind of teachers will these kids have? The job of a teacher is hard. The financial rewards that come with being a teacher are minimal. Sometimes I wonder if I should have chosen a different career, but when I get a message like this one from an ex-student, there is no greater reward:
“It’s probably a little late for me to say this, but down the years you really understand what an impact some teachers have made on you, and you are definitely one of the few that did… Thank you!!!”