Connections

This past PD Day we participated in an activity to help identify the students in our school who we as teachers feel do not have a connection to an adult in the building. The “Fish Out of Water”
activity involved every staff member, teachers, EAs and the office staff, putting their initials on the paper fish that were labelled with student names. As soon as a fish had 3 people’s initials it was thrown back into the “pond”. By the end of the activity I would estimate that we had between 200-300 of our 700 students fish still posted to the wall. Now what do we do? We were left to ponder this question. One teacher decided to create a Google Form asking students to identify which adults in the building they felt connected to. What a great idea! Skip ahead to the end of the day today. While I am on supervision we in our Purple Pod which is home to the grade 5 & 6 students, a colleague comes to me to share that one of her students in grade 7 had identified ME as an adult with whom they felt connected to. I was shocked! I do not teach grade 7 at all; this particular student is a member of our school’s Maker Club that I help to facilitate but outside of our once a week meetings, I rarely see this student. It goes to show you that what a student feels as having a connection to an adult may not be what the same adult may see as a connection.

As I cuddled my son at bedtime tonight, I found myself thinking about all of the teachers with whom I felt a connection to throughout my years in school. I can count 8 teachers with whom I felt a connection with throughout my time in school. These teachers were: Mrs. Brenda Siebert, Mrs. Vivian Donato, Ms. Elana Simington, Mrs. Nellie Burroughs, Mrs. Brenda Nugent, Mrs. Yvonne Baribeau, Mrs. Gregoret-Quinn and Mrs. P. (her actual last name has completely escaped me). I was wondering what I might say to these wonderful ladies if I ever had the opportunity and I think it would be this:

THANK YOU!
You will never know or understand the deep and everlasting impact that you have had on me both as a woman but also as a teacher and a mom. You shared your love and passion for learning and teaching with me. You pushed me to be the best that I could be and never gave up on me even when I had given up on myself! Your continuous understanding and support meant the world to me.
THANK YOU!

I may never have the opportunity to get this message to these ladies however, they will always hold a special place in my heart. I have always hoped that over the course of my career that I would have made a connection to at least one my students. Hearing that one student feels he has a connection to me makes me hope that I have positively impacted more students over the course of my 11 year career and that I will continue to have this same impact for the duration of my career.

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