I decided to have story time right after recess. We would read all kinds of wonderful stories, especially Roald Dahl books.
We would read a chapter a day — and those kiddies knew that we were going to have the story and they were going to find out what was happening, so they rushed back into the classroom.
The cloakroom was always a mess because they came in and threw off their shoes and coats and they were in the circle, ready, because I didn’t wait for anybody. The story was going to begin and if they missed it, too bad.
Bev Wong, Grade 2
I loved every day. It’s like your home. They’re like your children for a year.
And if you think about it, you actually spend more time in a classroom with the children than they do with their own family at home.
My mother-in-law always said to me, “Enjoy your kids, because once they go back to school, they’re gone.”
Joan McCleary, Grade 3
I went through economics and commerce and did a four year degree, and as I was getting close to finishing, I thought, “Is this what my headstone is going to read? John Irlam: spent his life selling widgets. Or life insurance. Or worked in a bank.”
I thought, no, I don’t want to be doing that. Teaching seemed to me where I could really contribute and help.
I loved it so much. It was a real revelation that you could enjoy what you did and get paid for it.
John Irlam, Grade 6
I tend to dwell on negative stuff. The students that were great, you remember them fondly. But the others you think, “Oh, why did I do that?” A kid’s a kid.
As a teacher, I take responsibility. It bothers me that I handled things in a certain way and that I could have done it better. Maybe if I was more mature at the time — a lot of this stuff was at the early end of my career. Like I say, you’re idealistic but you’re a little stupid. At least you can be. I know I was.
You mess up with a kid, you can mess up pretty big time. I always remember those kids and always say a prayer, “Please, I didn’t do a good job but You can.”
I often wonder how many of my students did I affect for the better? I think about it all the time.
Tony Rader, Grade 5
When I retired, I really struggled.
I didn’t know how much it was going to hit me but I really missed the community, the kids, the parents and my colleagues. I felt a really important piece of me had been cut out.
Because I didn’t have kids of my own, I really did look at these kids — all of you — as sort of surrogate kids. I missed the fun. I missed the connection.
Ted Hayes, Grade 7