As a teacher many children have come and gone through my various classrooms over the last fifteen years.
They are, for the year they are yours, a huge part of your life – and you theirs. Then at the end of the year, they move on to new challenges. And you are left with a new set of faces to learn about and discover.
There are some children though that even though the years have passed, you never forget. Children you wonder about, long after they are fully grown adults.
In my case, the children I think about the most are almost always the most vulnerable ones.
First are the children that I developed a connection with, where other teachers had struggled. Children who learnt how to learn in my classroom. Children that I hope went on to do that with many more teachers after me.
They are the easy ones, the group I think about with pleasure.
A smile here, I smile there as I remember little break throughs we had through the year, light bulb moments of recognition. Not only for them, but also for me, as I learnt about them, their needs and how to enable them to become effective learners.
The other group though, they are the ones I worry about, even now.
And they are the children I didn’t manage to reach, the ones that I let down by not understanding what they needed to succeed.
They are the ones that play on my mind. The ones that left my room no more ready to learn that when they came to me.
Many will now be adults, some will no doubt have children of their own.
I hope that for them, after me, came other teachers. Teachers more experienced and skilled, teachers who found a way to reach them. Teachers who found a way to show them that they too could learn.
I hope above all that both groups are happy.
But I also hope that if the second (thankfully small, but one would be too many) group remember me, they do so kindly.
I hope they forgive my failings. But most of all I hope they know I tried. I hope they know that I lay awake at night, thinking of new strategies. I hope they know that I didn’t give up on them. Either when they were in my class or when they left it.
I hope they know that I always believed they could learn.
I hope they know that I never blamed them.
Because as their teacher, it was me that should have found a way.