Happy world teachers’ day to all who read this post!
It was a sad start to my world teachers’ day as my two favourite students were leaving. I didn’t think I could connect so much with elementary students: I didn’t know what we’d talk about and how we could even build a relationship, but we did, and I will miss them. They reminded me how rewarding it can be to teach elementary students and the interesting challenges that you face everyday. They’d been with me for only six weeks but it felt like just a few days. I wish they’d stayed longer but it is a very sad part of our jobs that the best and closest students all have to leave at some point. It was a sad morning and made me almost forget about world teachers’ day.
We’d been told the week before, by the director, not to eat a big breakfast and that there would be a surprise waiting for us all, when we arrived. When I arrived there wasn’t really anything going on and we were all apprehensive as to what our surprise would be. Our centre manager, a former teacher herself, came bursting in wishing us all a happy world teachers’ day and beckoned us into the staff room; the management brought in pastries, juice and fruit as well as presents that the students had created for us. We went for our lessons full and feeling very appreciated.
When we had finished our lessons we came back and found the whole management and admin team waiting for us with a big thank you card which seemed like the icing on the cake of our world teachers’ day. We returned gleefully to our classes, motivated to teach some more before the farewell celebration for the leaving students.
When all the lessons were finished and the day was nearing an end we were being coxed and pushed into going to the farewell event, unknowingly walking into their trap. As we entered we looked round us to see the student room completely decorated from top to bottom with balloons and posters with our names beautifully drawn on them. We were applauded in and very well received; we felt like rock stars for a brief moment. The students pulled up seats for us and we sat down and went through the farewell presentation for the students. In the presentation was a video that the students had made for all the teachers. It contained a very touching thank you message to their teachers which moved us all very much and alarmed us as to how they had kept it all secret for so long. Our director thanked us all personally and even gave us certificates that said ‘most valued teacher’ on them, cheesy but a nice sentiment. Finally, we were given gifts of stationery and supplies for the staff room: dice, cuisenaire rods and colourful lollipop sticks, all things we had requested and things we felt we could use to make our lessons more creative and engaging. The students who were leaving all wanted selfies and were getting very emotional after having such a wonderful time. They had proved me wrong, yet again; you can build strong relationships with people who don’t really speak your language, friendship is universal, and not much has to be said when people get along well.
I saw a cliche quote on Facebook later that day and, in my emotion filled state, I felt that I could really relate to it. It said: ‘A teacher is like candle: it burns out to light the way for others’. Just 24hrs previous I felt very close to quitting and felt like I was burning out and I really needed a day like today to pick me up. I’m still here, I’m still standing, I’m still trying my best for the new students that will inevitably arrive on Monday. I think this is a feeling that every teacher goes through at some point, especially the ones who work for big companies, who see hundreds of students come and go and are under pressure to meet targets every day. As time goes by, you do get better at saying goodbye but every now and again you get a good group of students who make it awfully hard to say farewell.
Happy World Teachers’ Day everyone. We all work hard and deserve to feel appreciated for the hard work and dedication we all put in, and I hope my story gives you hope that there is appreciation out there and that you deserve it too.