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Spring Gillard
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Giving Thanks to Teachers

Friday was World Teachers’ Day. Maybe because I am in the Faculty of Education now, I am paying more attention to teacherly things. One thing I know is how grateful I am to my many teachers.

In Grade 5, I copied from my best friend’s test paper. She let me copy, angled it in a way that encouraged me to copy. Then, unbeknownst to me, she changed all her answers. Needless to say, she aced the test and I didn’t. At lunch later that day I saw her talking to our teacher Mr. Williams out on the playground. He glanced over at me. I knew she was telling him. He never said a word to me. I learned a very big lesson that day, his silence more powerful than any lecture.

In Grade 9, Mr Stefaniak pulled me aside after school and advised me to stay away from an older boy I was hanging out with. I didn’t listen to him (and he was right to warn me about the guy), but I never forgot that he took the time. Mr Willan acted out bits of history in social studies, his impression of a tipsy John A. Macdonald still makes me laugh. Mr Killough created avid readers by having us read books out loud in class. I couldn’t wait to hear the next episode of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In high school, Mr Baumbrough made biology come alive for me, even though I was not a sciences kind of girl. Mrs. Webster’s English class was a favourite of mine in Grade 12, I still have some of the classic books we read, like the Mayor of Casterbridge.

After my last year of undergrad at the University of Victoria, I was offered a one year scholarship to attend the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivieres. I would go to school and teach conversational English while there. It was all very last minute, I was scared and not sure if I should go. Two of my professors sat me down. Dr. Waelti-Walters and Dr. Green told me, in no uncertain terms, that if I didn’t get on that plane, they would put me on it. I went and I am so glad I didn’t miss that opportunity.

There were many others who shaped my life, Miss Thomas (Gr 2), Mrs. Meyers (Gr 3), Mrs. Michie (Gr 4), Mr. Brochu (GR 6&7 gym teacher), Mr. Wilson (Gr 7), Mrs. Bobbit (Gr 8 French), Mr. Butler and Mr. Murray (art teachers), Dr. Mentha, Dr. Kess. Now that I’m back at school, I suspect that list will continue to grow. Thank you to all of my wonderful teachers. Every one of you made a difference in my life.

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