School’s in and its been a whirlwind start to the week. The pressure on teachers is immense, everybody wants a piece of their time – children, parents, other teachers, school management, Ofsted… It’s amazing that teachers ever get any time to just teach. Some of the pressures of teaching are surprising, others are not. However, what becomes more and more apparent to me everyday is the overwhelming (and often unfair) burden that parents place on teachers. There are children in our class who can’t tie their shoelaces or tell the time, and in between maths and literacy lessons the expectation is for teachers to provide these additional life lessons. Where are all the parents?
I was fortunate. I was born into a family of loving parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and a brother, all of whom played a role in educating me, in growing me into the person I am today. When I was 9 I lost my one grandfather; yesterday, I lost my other. It doesn’t matter how much you’re expecting it or how much you know it’s for the best; losing someone you love is heart-wrenchingly difficult. It’s difficult knowing that you will never get to hug them or hear their voice again; and being half way across the world, it’s difficult not being able to give my gran a hug and be with my family as they remember all the good times.
So I want to deviate briefly from a discussion of the profession of teaching and look at the labour of love which is a family educating each other for life.
My grandpa’s were both incredible men who had a passion and love for family and good stories like no one else I know. They were both working men and their last days were filled with tinkering with wood and cabbages respectively. Year after year, they instilled in me a deep sense of family and the lesson that working for what you want is a good way to living a life that you can be satisfied with. They taught me that money isn’t everything and nothing quite beats a tale from “the good old days”. It is hard, losing people, but I also know that the lessons of life that I was taught will never leave me and are lessons worth passing on one day.
So even though I am not with my family in person during this time, I am remembering all the times that I was there and that I did get and I am grateful for those.
Thank you to my farm grandpa for all the lessons. Thank you for the many holidays at the farm and all the memories you provided at the “White House” in Morgs. Thank you for teaching me to value family, for showing me the importance of naps and afternoon tea, for telling me it’s ok to sneak another biscuit when granny’s back is turned, for showing that perseverance and hard work in pursuing your dream does pay off, and for all the wonderful stories. You were an incredible man and you will be missed, but save a bed for me wherever you are and keep telling those stories.