I grew up in a family of teachers, and adored them all. My aunts and uncle were teachers, their friends were teachers, and they could just about cajole me into doing anything they wanted me to do.
On 2 January this year, my son entered Primary 1. And over the past few days, I have been reminded just how important and influential teachers are.
As a Parent Volunteer during the first 3 days at school, I saw the School Principal beautifully and professionally attired, constantly mingling with the children radiating warmth and kindness. I was reminded how much I loved my own school principal, and how inspiring she had been.
In the classrooms where my son and I were at (I was chaperoning another Primary 1 class), we saw teachers patiently helping nervous children and putting them at ease. Yes, we had an entire discussion on how wonderful the respective teachers were.
An incident which happened on the 3rd day of orientation brought home how in the midst of the madding crowd, teachers do think on their feet, and exercise the power to turn an otherwise potentially scarring experience into a happy one. The little ones had put up an Appreciation Concert for the Parent Volunteers, and it was a terrific show! One of the little girls who was dancing however, suffered stage fright midway through her performance. The teacher who was emceeing the event quickly brought everyone’s attention to the next item, whilst another teacher came to calm the little girl down. Performing in front of 400 pairs of eyes can be very daunting for a 6 year old. Nonetheless, at the end of the scheduled programme, the teacher emcee announced that the sporting little girl wanted to try again. Try she did, but once again the little girl was struck by the size of the crowd and fell silent. The teacher acted quickly, and before the little girl could burst into tears, asked everyone else who knew the song to come on up and dance together. The happy Primary 1s complied, and soon, what could have been a flood of tears turned into a huge happy grin as the little girl danced away happily with her friends. Great save, Teacher!
On the 4th day of school, the children had to be dropped off for the first time. As the cars came up the long driveway, the first person the children saw was the Principal, welcoming them with a warm smile. Standing closely behind was the Vice-Principal, offering yet more reassurance. Teachers lined the driveway, waiting to receive the children as they were dropped off. As the car door was closing, the children were reminded to say bye bye to their parents and wave. The teachers had also arranged for Primary 2 children to come guide the little Primary 1s down to the basketball court. I watched as a Primary 2 boy put his arm around my son’s shoulders and chatted with him as they walked down the stairs. Somehow I knew everything was going to be ok.
Thank you, Teachers.