This week the youngest reader and achiever in our house is heading off to University, yet it only seems like yesterday he was heading off to his first day of Kindergarten.As he drives off to campus strong and independent, I am secure in the knowledge that myself and the teachers he has encountered along life's journey so far, have given him all the tools he needs to prepare him for a successful career wherever that path may lead him.
I remember that first day thirteen years ago so clearly. Being the youngest of three boys he was so keen to start school and learn to read. He expected to come home with homework that very first day. He didn't cling or cry, it was me that had a tear in my eye, so hard to let go of my last one! He waved goodbye and raced straight inside to "learn".
The class was a Kinder/Year One composite which couldn't have proved more perfect. My son thrived in the learning atmsophere, soaking up every letter, sound, word and number he could. It didn't take long before he was not only bringing home sight words to learn to read, but spelling lists as well!
The teacher was so wonderful and patient with all of them no matter what their level of ability, and believe me, there was quite a range in a group like that! She set a challenge word or two in each weeks spelling list, mainly for the year one students, never expecting the Kindies to take up the gauntlet. Son number three and his mate were always up to the challenge though, even when she put in the word "photosythesis". They could both spell it and explain what it meant!
She set a great example to the start of his learning career. Always challenge yourself, nothing is ever too monumental if you put your mind to it.
There have been other great teachers along the way. The Year One teacher that was originally a high school science teacher. He brought science experiments into the classrom. Blew up volcanoes, made sherbert and honeycomb. Had an monumental effect on son number one. That son found an immediate thirst for chemistry and geology. Couldn't read enough about volcanoes, the earth, tornadoes, climate change etc. He now has a Geology Degree and is working very happily in the field. That teacher taught the essentail lesson of finding a passion in life, hang on to it, read and learn all you can about it and one day you can make it your career.
Two special teachers saw the compassionate, gentle side of my middle son. His teacher in the International school in Thailand where he was surrounded by fellow students from a myriad of nations and became friends with every one of them, to his teacher on return to Australia where he had to adapt back to life in the suburbs where everyone was the same. He learnt a very important life skill, that differences should be not only tolerated but embraced and celebrated.
There have been many gems in our lives over the eighteen years since my firat son started school til the youngest finished. Far too many to mention. Hang on to the ones you find. Treasure them, they are worth their weight in gold! Your children will remember and value them and so will you.