It has been hard watching the news and hearing about strike action and funding cuts to education in so many provinces around Canada. Being a part of education, I am not only seeing educators go out of their way to do more for their students, but also continuously tweak and innovate their practice. Of course, as in every profession, there are weak parts, but I have been lucky enough to travel around the country and see so many dedicated educators that go above and beyond what is expected of their profession.
This made me think of my own teachers and their impact on me. There are so many different stories I could share that go way beyond one teacher. Like my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Stock who was one of the most kind and caring people I have ever known, sending me messages 30 years later congratulating me on becoming a principal.
Or my grade 3 teacher Mrs. Penrose who sparked a love of drama and “being on stage” as an eight year old, that has never left me, who wrote on my report card, “You can achieve any dream you want if you put your mind to it”, and constantly pushed me throughout my entire time in elementary to love music and acting.
Or my grade five teacher Mrs. Sloan who had my class run a business at our school and taught us about “entrepreneurship” long before it became a “21st century competency” and was just the best teacher ever. She even made lawn bowling seem amazing.
Or my grade eight teacher Mr. Hill, who is the principal of my former elementary school, who made a bet with me that his Seattle Supersonics would beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs one year, and had to wear a Lakers sweater I gave him in 30 degree celsius temperature for the entire day.
Or Mr. Bellamy in grade 10 who inspired us to create commercials in class that I can still remember to this day and wish YouTube had existed because I am sure ours would have got at least 100 hits.
Or the countless coaches that put in so much of their own time to help me explore my passions and teach me way beyond any game.
Or Mr. Steele, my high school principal, who didn’t judge me by the kid I was, but treated me like the person I could be, and believed in me even though I was huge brat for many years in high school.
Or the huge group of teachers that came to my father’s funeral to support my family even though I was the last of my family in school and it had almost been 20 years since that time.
I could go on and on about my teachers that made such an impact on me, and the current educators that I serve every day that make such a difference. This is not meant to be a political statement at all, but more just showing gratitude to the many educators who have made such a difference in the lives of so many. I have often said, “if we only teach the kids the curriculum, we have failed them.” This is something that was not told, but has been shown to me by so many educators throughout my time in school.
(I encourage you to share your stories about your teachers to the #EDUin30 hashtag, as this week’s question asks for that. My 30 second story is below.)
— George Couros (@gcouros) May 16, 2015