Monday, August 6, 2012

Reunion Shadows

Reunion Shadows. Dianne McKenzie CC

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to reunite with about 70 or so classmates from my high school years. It was great meeting these people again after so many years and we were still able to have a great time even though distance and time had come between us over a generation. We had been able to reconnect and share photographs through Facebook before the evening which was great to break the ice and renew old friendships.

On the afternoon of the reunion the group was able to walk around the school grounds and even inside the school buildings, reflecting on what had not changed or seeing improvements where they had been made. As we passed different classrooms the conversation invariably was started with "Remember when Mr ... or Mrs... " with a lively conversation about the teacher and incident involved.

After the reunion it struck me as significant how much we remember about our lives at school and particularly our teachers even in the smallest details. Passing comments such as 'he was a good bloke', 'she was as hard as nails', 'terrible teacher', or 'I wonder what happened to them'. We could remember all their names and how they related to us. Someone who was a terrible to teacher to one was excellent to others. All reflected on how the teacher student relationship changed for the better once they moved into senior high school.

The relationship between a student and teacher is a complex beast, but in the end the teacher will be remembered how the students perceive them. Those who were remembered most fondly by our year group were the ones who gave of themselves, showed us their human side, were fair as well as being able to help the students learn to the best of their abilities, fun yet still maintained a teacher student relationship. They were not our friends, they were friendly and they were respected for who they were and they in turn respected us for who we were.

It was also interesting to find out how many of our year group started out in a different profession, but some were drawn to teaching later in life and now are themselves enjoying the rewards of being an educator. I do believe this is due in part to the great influence of the mostly fantastic teachers we had.

The reunion made me re-realise that every interaction I have with a student will be remembered by someone, somewhere. I play a significant role in these peoples lives and, it is in my best interests to make these interactions as positive as possible so that they will be good memories.

How will you be remembered?

Classroom memories Dianne McKenzie CC

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