This year my private practice has been suspended due to gaining full-time employment until December, in public schools as a School Counsellor. I've been doing this work since 1988, give or take a couple of babies and several city/town/house moves.
This position, particularly working as a casual/relief counsellor usually means remaining on the periphery of the staff at a number of schools at any one time. It can feel isolated. Teachers' quite rightly don't see you as one of them anymore (though I taught primary school classes as a pre-requisite to this) and you're only there 1 or 2 days a week. So I always try to make my services relevant and my 'self' accessible.
But today I became a teacher person again and barged myself into a presentation on the instruction of reading and writing. (Quite frankly I think that this was invaluable to my job anyway - makes sense to see what is being taught when you are advising on Learning Difficulties!)
Stephen Graham presented an extremely straightforward model of "Explicit Teaching". Yes! Simple teaching for complex ideas. User friendly. He gave a couple of demo lessons and once again I am humbled by what an outstanding job most teachers do.
How difficult it is to have a group of children in front of you and skillfully instruct them in some of life's most important tasks - reading and writing.
It's not a bad experience either, to see that most of these people genuinely like children. And the kids love them back.
Driving home I reverted back to memories of being an idealistic 22 year old primary school teacher. When goals of modelling excellence and being an influential person in a kidlet's life were real. Too many of us in Education take what we do for granted. This work is really.... very... important.
Here's to the teacher's who have made their art their life's work.
Let's give them more money and stop complaining about their holidays. They earn every bit of both.