Love in Hindsight

Imagine if you could, just for a moment, the kind of parent you imagined you’d be, merging perfectly with the parent you’ve become. Do I hear guffaws of laughter from those of you who think that’s hilarious?

Through my 20’s, which was also the beginning of my teaching career, I thought I had a good handle on the concept of parenting.

On my very first day, I had a class of 5 year olds who came in with saucer-like eyes. They stole glances at me; this newbie who hadn’t a clue what was about to occur. Just as a predator can smell fear, I am certain that they could sense mine.

Primary school pupils during a lesson becoming the parent you thought you'd be graduates first days of teaching As the bell rang, most of the children made their way to the floor as a mother entered with her son. She seemed flustered as the boy eyed me from his latched position on her leg. She said she was going to be late for an appointment and needed to leave. Being fresh as a spring daisy, I tried to utilise my limited arsenal to encourage him to join his classmates on the mat.

Holding out my hand, he clung even tighter while his mum detached him and thrust his arm out to me. With his tiny wrist surrounded by my hand, he kicked at my shins and screamed blasphemous words that would put a drunken sailor to shame. The mum had turned on her heel already and I wasn’t far behind. I closed that door behind me with trembling hands and tears of failure streamed down my face as I made my way down the corridor to the principal’s office.

Thousands of children, all with different personalities, quirks and backgrounds have since crossed the threshold into the classrooms in various schools where I have practised my craft. Now, I also have children of my own.

All of these children came through doorways paid for by the government. Some of these entrances were in need of a new coat of paint, some doors were bearers of scars from fists, chair legs and other implements randomly thrown. Others displayed pride, colourfully decorated with art work, welcoming anyone who would step through. Perhaps the posters and drawings just covered up any harm that had been done to the surface.

I, too, bear the scars. There are physical ones you can see. Scratches on my hands, my skin dug at so deeply that as I age they become whiter; a constant reminder of my journey. There are emotional ones etched on my heart that only I can feel. True stories of children who awoke each school morning top-to-toe with their brother in the back seat of the family car. Tummies rumbling at a quarter to nine was as common as the unwashed uniforms and tousled hair. Children who had lost a parent through accident, illness or an horrendous tragedy. The communities that grieved for a student lost, much too young to be with us no more.

Ten years of teaching, before my first son was conceived, and these children helped me to learn more than I probably taught them.

To be continued.

Image from: here.


25 thoughts on “Love in Hindsight

    • Some of the most beautiful memories I have are of children with additional needs in mainstream schooling. They taught me more than I was aware of at the time. Children teach us more than they will ever realise.

  1. I used to think I knew so much about children. The older I have got the more I have come to realize how much I still have to learn. Also the more enjoyable I am finding the lessons.

    • I can only imagine the depth of your understanding. From where I stand right now, to think that I will learn even more as the years flow by, than I already have is like knowing I have a bottomless cup that will never be full.

  2. Kelly, this is a wonderful post! I can’t imagine how hard and rewarding it is to be a teacher. Looking forward to reading the next installment.

  3. Teachers are the most important person in a child’s life…after their parents. Teachers mold and shape our precious children. I can still remember things that my 1st and 2nd grade teachers did an said to me 30+ years later. Both my parents are teachers and they both loved their jobs. Teachers are a special kind of people!! xoxo

    • I agree, teachers are special but I think that is due largely to the special children we are given the privilege of caring for and helping to learn. I still remember my Year 1 teacher said to me: ‘Kelly is a clever, cheerful little chatterbox.’ I think she was spot on with the chatterbox part, at least. I have since taught at the same school as her.

  4. Pingback: Love in Hindsight | Rody & Steve Cleaning Service-Kelowna BC Services

  5. It was just the other day when I was at a loss as to how to reason with my son (much more accustomed to little girls) when I thought of how firm I had to be with a particular boy I used to teach with special needs. Using similar methods, I was able to gain my son’s attention.

    Your post especially highlighted to me how trusted teacher’s are. I had no idea how precious those little newbies were to their parents before I became a parent.

    • We do learn some ‘tricks’ that come in handy with our own.

      Teaching the littlies is a very demanding and rewarding role. A ton of trust in put in junior primary teachers. Like you, I only understood this when my son started.

  6. Pingback: Love in Hindsight II | Free Little Words

  7. I believe teachers are a special breed. In particular – good teachers. They must be gifted with patience, empathy, restraint, sense of humor… I could continue but my mind escapes me. I can say that from reading your blog I believe you are an outstanding teacher. I would have loved to have had you as a teacher for my boys. xxxxx

  8. Pingback: Love in Hindsight III | Free Little Words

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