Words Worth A Thousand Hearts

I always thought Wordsworth had a beautiful name that magically endowed him with the gift of words to bless and inspire.

Today is Teachers’ Day Celebration in most schools, a day when all the teachers nationwide are appreciated, their efforts acknowledged, their heartwork applauded. It is the day teachers have the excuse to let their hair down, and students have the excuse to do things and get away with it – haha. My second teachers’ day as an official educator brings along a slightly different perspective than last year, a more rounded one, I hope.

Firstly, Teachers’ Day is a day to acknowledge all teachers. It is not a day to acknowledge your hard work, or for you to receive thank you messages from students and parents. It is a day for all teachers to celebrate, give themselves a pat on the back, and just treat themselves for being awesome and pressing on three-quarters into the year! If our students do not yet know how to be appreciative or are not in the habit of showering us with notes, cards and gifts, then we teachers should – and must – show appreciation and give thanks to one another, all in the good spirit of encouraging and giving thanks for each other’s great work.

Colleagues here have been most kind. The first few teachers’ day gifts and memos were from colleagues, friends, who wanted to do just that – thank their coworkers and friends for being who they are. Although there are some gripes about the school, like there are in any other school, the colleagues around me have been most kind and supportive, nurturing and encouraging us to keep trying and to do better time and time again. They don’t even demand recognition or acknowledgement, some of them just quietly leave the love notes on your desk as a gesture of kindness. I didn’t participate in the mass giving of presents or cards, but this year, I felt very blessed to be part of a community of educators who cares enough to say “thank you!” and “keep going!” to their friends. That is one thing that made me smile today, and one thing I will always count as my blessing.

The second realization was how the “small successes” are really the things that made me smile. There wasn’t anything fanciful that bowled me over today. There wasn’t a cake with the words, “Happy Teachers’ Day!” on it, nor was there a united enthusiasm to take a class photograph, or fans crowding around to get my autographs signed. But more importantly, there were students whose actions and kind words really left an impact on me today.

This young man went through a GIANT of a tornado this year, and us with him. It was a mixture of anger, exasperation, misunderstanding, mind games and power play, fire extinguisher, parent-teacher-meetings, discipline committee reviews, vulgarities. – oh you wouldn’t want to know. Up till now he is still a LB (hm teacher code: ask to know), but there has been the slightest positive change in this one kid, and it started when he began to be more active in Interact Green Club. When he stood on stage to give the presentation representing the CCA, I think he felt clearly, for once, how he could garner positive support from his peers, and be accepted and acknowledged by his teachers. I hope he really meant what he posted on Facebook – how sweet is he! :)

The girl who could not look at herself in the mirror earlier this year, and who was absent for a massive few months this year, actually made effort to come back to school today despite being excused from school, to personally thank the teachers who have supported her these few months. This was a card she gave, accompanied with a beautiful plastic rose (it took us a while to figure out if it was real), with a poem composed on her own! The language is error-free and the words are beautifully chosen, and it rhymes! Even if this girl doesn’t clear her EOY, I know that she can really go on to do great things, because she has heart for people. I just hope and pray that God keep her and keep her safe and out of harm’s way. When I saw her at the corridor waiting with the gifts, I couldn’t help but give her a hug. It was just lovely to see your child regain that little bit of confidence to do something for someone around her. Yayness. And like what R said, it is today that reaffirms you and make you feel that what you have been doing, if only for these few kids, have been all worthwhile.

Thank God for today. Now hello holidays, and Term 4, and examinations, and heartbreak, and hopefully, pleasant surprises. :)

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