Pavlovas and Primroses

The world seen through the eyes of a child is an innocent place full of hope and promise; awe and wonder balanced with a willingness to embrace joy and laughter. Childhood is special – an unrepeatable period of life that should be filled with experiences that help build a foundation for the decades that follow. Recalling days long gone allow inner smiles to rise once more.

The day Mrs Newall could tell I needed the toilet just by looking at the way I was dancing from foot to foot in the line of fellow pupils trying to get her time. The day Mrs Goodworth told me that primroses die when they’re stood on, or another when she asked my permission to share that my grandad was the first person in the area to have solar panels – a fact I didn’t even know myself. The day my nan told me she knew I’d be a doctor when I grew up (I’m a teacher). The days my brother and I used to give our mum joke presents on her birthday (April First).

Memories build us, form us and stay with us. Nobody can choose what to remember or what to forget, as much as might consciously decide to try. As we grow older, some of our happiest moments even become opportunities for nostalgia, shared with friends on social media or relived by the lucky few.

I’m in charge of a classroom. I am responsible for creating a years worth of educational memories that have the potential to impact the next generation forever. As I teach I make a conscious attempt to drop nuggets of humour and joy into the every day strain to learn so many facts that may never be relevant to their lives.

Calling a new playground pavilion ‘the pavlova’, not realising that children may use that phrase in their end of school exams three years later, started out as a flippant pun. It became a nick-name memory.

Almost solving a rubix cube in front of another class led to a rubix-contagion spreading as though it were the 80s once more, with the puzzling cuboids suddenly appearing across the school, in playgrounds and (most bizarrely) held in laps by hopeful solution hunters rehearsing while teachers attempted to cover the curriculum. The fact that I received no less than 5 alternative rubix puzzles as presents from children is testament to the impact of a single event.

And showing the few simple magic tricks that I know, integrating them into lessons in the hope of making the relevant facts stick that much better has led to several hobby-magicians and at least one professional!

Receiving an umbrella as a gift from a pupil was a particular highlight, especially as it was delivered via my step-dad who bumped into this child’s family while on a business trip in France. The Mars themed brollie was given to the teacher who made French fun and loved chocolate. A complete surprise.

I am not perfect – no teacher can be despite Government pressure to be consistently outstanding – but I do know I, and many thousands of teachers across the country, have an impact on the next generation that we will never fully understand.

If you are one of those teachers, who still attempt to inspire while simultaneously teaching a curriculum that has increased pressure, mental health warnings and depressing levels in our own children, and burnt out more than its fair share of brilliant professionals, then I want to thank you.

Thank you for persevering.
Thank you for remembering why you became a teacher.
Thank you for ensuring that children too believe in life before death.
Thank you for doing your best, despite the cost.

Thank you.

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