A letter to online teachers from LEARN Director, Margaret Dupuis:
I would like to take the opportunity of Quebec’s Teacher Appreciation Week to thank each and every one of you for being with us at LEARN. Your hard work and dedication is so greatly appreciated. Your role as teachers is the most important part of what we do. In my eyes, being a teacher is very special because you have the opportunity to shape lives and interact with some very special individuals. What you do each day amazes me!
As teachers, our role is to be there for the students’ needs – a very important role because a teacher is expected to be doctor, lawyer, friend, advocate, preacher, teacher and everything else in between – a big job with a lot of worries. However, we cannot forget that students also help fulfill our dreams of becoming master teachers, who make the educational experiences gratifying and exciting. It is a lovely partnership.
The best part of my career was teaching. There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that you have made a difference in a child’s world. Whether it was when a student finally understood information they were struggling with, or when they needed a smile or a shoulder to cry on, it was all extremely uplifting. There is no other sentiment like it in the world. I miss it a lot. My best dreams are when I dream that I am still in the classroom.
As a student I remember the great teachers that touched my life and how they helped me view the world and what it held for me. There was the history teacher, Mrs. Russell, who made History come alive even though I was not a history buff. She was one of the main reasons why I chose to go into education. Her ability to make learning exhilarating was inspirational. There were also my Science and Math teachers who pushed me to learn great things that helped direct my interests in Science. Then, of course, there was my Physical Education teacher, Ms. Richardson, who helped me determine my major at university. All of these people helped define my future and did it willingly without even expecting a thank you. That is what a caring teacher does. I wonder if they really know how they have made such a difference in my life.
Then, of course, there was my mother who was a teacher for 35 years. Her beliefs in teaching and helping students achieve were the basis of what education should be. She always told me every child has the right to learn and it is our duty as teachers to assure that we make that a possibility and a reality for each and every one of them – we have to provide the right building blocks. When I struggled during my first years of teaching, she was my mentor. She was also a mentor to my sister, who was also in education and who has just retired. By the way, my mother and I still have many conversations about teaching and she has just turned 90. Once a teacher always a teacher! So if we think that education has changed that much over the years, well think again. The strategies of delivery are somewhat different but the job, or the calling, is still the same – to provide the opportunity for students to reach their full potential. I thank and respect my Mom for all the great educational moments and advice she provided. She was, and still is, a true educator.
These are my reflections but, as you can tell, teachers and teaching are very special to me. You are the building blocks of any educational organization. You sift through the good, the bad and the ugly and get to what is really important – helping the learner. In all of you, I do not see you doing a job but responding to a calling and a challenge, to which you have dedicated your lives. On behalf of every learner LEARN works with, whether child or adult, I thank you. You are making incredible strides in new strategies to make your classes exciting and inspiring for these students. However, with all of this, you have not forgotten the true goal of providing the right building blocks for their future.