This is why we do it.

As classes end in our secondary schools, and teachers and students transition into the exam period, I am often asked about what I do to ‘fill my free time’. It is hard to explain the busyness that comes with the end of the year when in a system role. To be true to the work that we do, a lot of time and focus is spent on deep reflection and planning. Because of this, it can be very easy to get caught up in reports and meetings, and feel overly disconnected from schools and the classroom. However, earlier this week I had the opportunity to be reminded of why we spend these meetings passionately debating projects, and more importantly, why we do what we do.

As a student at the Faculty of Education years ago, I spent my time splitting my focus between two of my passions… math and music. I always pictured myself teaching math, but wanted to continue to study music pedagogy for ‘fun’ and as a creative outlet. Never had I imagined that I would have the opportunity to teach both subjects years later! As a vocal music teacher, I spent hours every day before school, after school, and during lunch hours working with my men’s choir, chamber choir, and concert choir students. There is nothing that can match the joy that comes from watching a student overcome their fears and present themselves on stage… putting their voice and heart on the line.

This week I had the opportunity to sit in the audience to watch the last group of vocal music students I taught before leaving Banting perform their final high school solo performances. To think of where these students began years ago, and how far they have since come as musicians and school leaders… it is very hard to describe the pride and happiness that I shared with their family members and friends in the audience.

The teaching profession is such that we spend hundreds upon hundreds of hours with a group students, and hope that we helped make a difference in each of their lives in those few years that we spend together. But then after these years… they move forward in to the next phase of their lives and often we miss out on seeing the adults that they become. Having the opportunity to come back to Banting and see the maturity and confidence that has developed in my past students was just the thing I needed to remind myself of why we ‘sit through’ meetings… webinars… data sessions… conference calls…etc…

It is for that moment when we realize that it is not us who made the difference, but our students who will make a difference and change the world. If I was a little part of the change they will make… well that’s more than good enough for me.

Until next time…


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