It’s the beginning of September and teachers up and down the land are returning to work. I enjoy working in a school. The great people I work with are an important part of making my professional life fulfilling.
It was lovely to open an e-mail this morning from a parent praising the fantastic work of a particular teacher. Their son had just graduated with a top degree from a Russell Group university and they were clearly delighted.
Throughout our son’s time at university he has had continued help and support from <name of teacher>. He has always valued his opinion and it is to his testament that he has continued to help guide and mentor our son after he left St. Mary’s and without a doubt is one of the reasons he gained such wonderful results … we cannot begin to express how much we appreciate him going above and beyond his duties as a teacher.
Over the years, I’ve received a number of e-mails, letters and telephone calls containing a similar sentiment. The success of teachers, in the class room, is not through some magic persona or an extroverted large than life character. Their success is in the unwritten, unspoken, implicit contract that I am your teacher. I will treat you with respect, through my actions towards you, plan your lessons properly, mark your books and help you when the learning gets tough. You can trust me. I will be your teacher each and every day this year.
We start every new academic year by coming together for a reflection and to pray. It is always an uplifting part of the day with people excited at the prospect of a new year, as yet untouched, and the opportunity to chat with colleagues. Simon Stewart, our Chaplaincy Team Leader, put together a wonderful reflection some of which is below. The theme was Selfless September. This theme will be our focus throughout the month with our young people. We have previously enjoyed Justice January and there will be two more specially themed months this year.
Take a few minutes to sit back and go slowly through the slides. I know it’s a busy time of the year but you need to stop running round just for a bit. We are human beings not human doings so why not just be for a moment.
Which sentence meant something to you? Why did this sentence or phrase speak to you?
Which picture do you remember? Why this picture?
What are you looking forward to in your journey this year? What will give you life in your work?
What fear are you holding about the new year? Can you let it go?
It’s good sometimes to stop and reflect. In my experience teachers are a selfless lot. They work long hours, give more than their contracts require them to and do it out of love for the young people in their care. Our work is a vocation. We willingly choose to go through the pain barrier year after year for the sake of the young people we educate. I for one give thanks for the great work that teachers have done and will do. We help build a nation one lesson at a time.
I’ll say a prayer tomorrow – I hope you don’t mind – a prayer of thanks. Thank God for teachers and all the wonderful support staff too. Have a great year.