The Joy of Teaching

The last two days have been full of joy and sorrow. Yesterday, was my last day at the Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge, Ontario.  Taking a medical leave of absence to get my systems balanced. But yesterday and today I had the kind of experience of which every teacher dreams.  

On Thursday, at Kortright, I had the class from heaven. A group of fabulous Grade Seven students with a dynamic young teacher who bonded with me immediately. It was truly love at first sight, and you knew right away you were going to have the kind of day where nothing could go wrong and it was all going to get better and better as the day went on.

From fire making, to roasting marshmallows, to making up our own "Hunger Games" contest in the forest, to "Singing in the Rain",  to doing the challenge of the "land skis", to playing predator prey games, to finding owl pellets and meeting the birds of prey, to chirping like the frogs and toads of a spring pond, and to hide and seek from your teacher in the bush – an AWESOME day.  The kind of class you want to hold on to forever. To Our Lady of Mercy Separate School in the Dufferin-Peel Separate School Board, thank you.  You made my last day at work a joy and a memory I will NEVER forget.

Then today, at my youngest son's school, I was invited to take part in a Career Day presentation on "Outdoor and Environmental Education – how to become a Kortright  Conservation Centre Interpreter."  I had four workshops in a row, and an amazing lunch by the multi-talented Allan Drive Middle School staff. But it was the students and teachers who were the best part of the day. Respectful and very interested grade 6,7,& 8 students and their staff came to learn that to change the world, you have to first learn First Aid and CPR skills so you can view every person you meet as someone you can assist, that you become a lifesaver;  swim, ski/board, canoe, kayak, climb, and get all your certification, and spend time in natural settings so you begin to understand and celebrate this miracle of life that is all around us.

The most silent moments were when Ithey looked at the global poster and reflected on the fact that they were part of 7 billion people, and life was pretty good for them, put not so good for children their age in Sudan. That everyone wanted a slice of the pie, and water, and a little love, self respect and shelter, and some time to play.  That not a single child in this world ever wanted their village bombed or their sister raped or their uncle shot, So why do we as adults keep visiting all of our -isms upon our children.  Time to let children create their futures without all of our baggage.  Got that Israel and Palestine?

The last class presentation of the day was like my class from Thursday at Kortright.  Bright, full of fun, full of life, enthusiastic students – we had a great time just telling stories about life. So, a big thank you to Allan Drive Middle School, and Mr. Ward, and his phenomenal staff.  And to Trevor, the big blonde grade eight boy with the sunshine smile who gave me my Girl Guide cookies – I love you man!  And I am so happy my son goes to this school.

To the students of Jo-Jo's class at Our Lady of Mercy, and the students I taught at Allan Drive Middle School – you are the best of the best and there is hope for the future.  Take this gift of education and life in our Canada (not Stephen Harper's Canada) and show us your best. To your hands we throw the torch –  let it burn brightly!

Skid Crease, Caledon

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