This week marks the retirement of my favourite teacher, Mrs. F. She’s the woman who I revered when I was growing up. She inspired me to be a superhero; to be a strong, resilient, kind, and driven woman who cared for everyone around her. It was in her grade one classroom that I decided I wanted to be a teacher, just like her, when I grew up. Yesterday I looked upon her classroom one final time, and congratulated her on her retirement. In my attempt to thank her – for her guidance in everything, and many teaching keepsake tokens – I couldn’t help the tears that escaped from my eyes. There seemed to be no words for that kind of gratitude.
I am so fortunate as to have received several boxes of teaching resources from Mrs. F, some of which still have her handwritten notes tucked between the pages. Some have dog-eared pages, others’ bindings are worn through, and some were passed down to her from the previous generation of educators. It brings a smile to my lips when I recognize a song, poem, or art project from my time as her student. It’s hard to believe that it’s been eighteen years since I sat on the coloured carpet and listened to her stories; still harder to accept that she’s retiring.
But I am overjoyed by the reality that teaching is not just a job, it is a lifestyle and a personality type: Type T. Teachers like Mrs. F do not simply throw in the towel at their retirement party and call it quits. She will continue to teach, everywhere she goes, and will someday be a beloved volunteer in my classroom.
I am incredibly humbled by Mrs. F’s faith in me to be a great teacher, and I am inspired by her faith to be the greatest teacher I can be. It also reminds me of the power that a favourite teacher can have, of the difference that a teacher can make in a child’s life. Mrs. F was someone I always looked up to, who I could depend on, and who cared about me. I hope that there are enough amazing teachers out there so that every child can be inspired the way I was. And I aspire to be that teacher for someone, someday.
What do you remember about your favourite teacher? Please share your stories in the comments below.