Friday, 30 September 2011

Filling up Our Hearts

“Mrs. Geres, you fill up my heart!”  explaimed one of my favourite students today as she rushed forward for a hug. I was teaching her class while her teacher had to suddenly leave due to a family emergency. I have always had a soft spot for children who struggle. There is something inspiring about a child who faces significant challenges, yet perseveres through situations under which many of us adults would crumble. Her statement touched me on many levels, one of which was the realization that our collective efforts are paying off with her.

I am proud of my staff and even prouder of my students, as we work together to create a sense of family where we fill up each other’s hearts. Our staff attended a professional development day on Monday led by Colleen Drobot. Colleen is a family therapist and a teacher, who has trained under Gordon Neufeld. The staff was encouraged by Colleen to consider the emotional needs of the children with whom we work, and how parents and educators can work together to meet these emotional needs. When children act up, whether at home or school, it is often because their needs are not being met. Understanding children from a developmental perspective enables us to consider how we provide an environment that allows them to develop their full human potential. As my young student put it: filling up each other’s hearts.

How, exactly, do we fill up each other’s hearts? When I walk down the halls of my school, I see teachers who are genuinely delighted by the students they teach; teachers who provide the rich soil of caring, thoughtfulness and guidance that enables our students to thrive. As I walk around the playground before and after school chatting with parents, I see parents who take delight in their children, whose eyes light up when they see them, and who naturally respond to their children with love and sensitivity. 

We had a wonderful thing happen in our school this week. We just hired a brand new teacher, and her first day of teaching was on Tuesday. Her classroom had not yet been set up and the walls in her room were bare. After school, one of the other teachers went onto the PA system and announced that there was “a decorating party” in the new teacher’s room. Most of the staff showed up with scissors and staplers, and within an hour, a job that usually takes a teacher a full week during the week before school starts was complete. Every bulletin board was covered, including the border, which various staff donated to the cause. Her calendar was laminated, cut up, and mounted on the wall. Seeing everyone come together in this way filled up my heart, and I’m sure it did for the new teacher as well. What a great symbol of the Old Yale Road community spirit!

The PAC came out in force last week to ensure that every street corner was covered in our Terry Fox Run. The caring spirit was strong as they watched out for our children to ensure that everyone completed the run safely. This week, they are hard at work selling Entertainment books in the foyer of the school. We are a true team, and I am proud to be a part of such a terrific school. I feel fortunate to work in a place where my heart is filled by a million kind and thoughtful things that adults and children do for each other every day.

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