28th April 2013
I think I have said before that it would be great to be able to look 20 or 30 years into the future to see what has become of the children we are teaching. Not only would this help us to better prepare them for what is to come but it would also satisfy a burning curiosity.
Since I have been teaching in East Lothian for 35 years now, I often meet former pupils in a variety of circumstances. Some are easily recognised, some I struggle to put names to and there are a few I will never forget!
The reaction of these people is interesting- few scurry by- they generally want to be recognised and it is great to catch up and hear how they are doing. In getting into conversation, they will often talk about something they remember from the time we spent as teacher/pupil. I have to be truthful about this and admit that few say they remember how good I was at teaching them to read or learn tables- mostly it is small and often unremarkable things. One boy remembered that I had taught him to whistle- I’m sure his parents blessed me for that one; one had fond memories of making and eating soup- 30 years ago it was not so common to cook in class. A few have mentioned the singing we did together-at that age they patently don‘t recognise bad guitar-playing! I was accosted one night in a restaurant in Dunbar by a grown man, who was obviously enjoying his Friday night in the time-honoured fashion, and who got down on his knees in front of me and insisted on singing “The Wheels on The Bus Go Round and Round” which he said I had taught him in primary two. Obviously I had taught him well- he could sing ALL the verses!
I have had the privilege of working with two former pupils as colleagues- one of them is Kirsten Pearson, currently at Saltoun. She was talking recently about a trip to Tyninghame beach we had in P4- some 30 odd years ago. She didn’t mention what the learning intention was for the outing but had clear memories of my dog being there- some things don’t change!
The point of this rambling is that it is often the small, seemingly insignificant experiences which make the longest lasting impressions. In thinking about my own childhood, my best memories are of fairly ordinary things which become special because you share them with people close to you-holding fenceposts for my dad to knock them in, scuffing through Autumn leaves on a walk with my mum and grandmother, getting the first go on my brother’s home-made raft- it was many years before I realised he was using me as a test-pilot!
We don’t always have to spend lots of money or make elaborate preparations to make an impression in children’s lives- it would seem that just being there for them is often enough.
What do you remember most fondly about school or childhood? Have you considered that in relation to your children’s memories?
Have a great week,
28th April 2013