We have spent the past two months looking at examples of the positive and negative impact that elementary and high school teachers can have on lifelong learning. We need good teachers in our schools, and many of our children are lucky to have them. The following poem by Paula J. Fox is a wonderful testament to those many teachers who nurture and guide the children in their care.
The Heart of a Teacher
by Paula Fox
The child arrives like a mystery box with puzzle pieces inside;
some of the pieces are broken or missing and others just seem to hide.
But the HEART of a teacher can sort them out and help the child to see
the potential for greatness he has within- a picture of what he can be.
Her goal isn’t just to teach knowledge by filling the box with more parts;
it’s putting the pieces together and creating a work of art.
The process is painfully slow at times; some need more help than others.
Each child is a work in progress with assorted shapes and colors.
First she creates a classroom where the child can feel safe in school,
where he never feels threatened or afraid to try, and kindness is always the rule.
She knows that a child can achieve much more when he feels secure inside,
when he’s valued and loved, and believes in himself, and he has a sense of pride.
She models and teaches good character and respect for one another;
how to focus on strengths not weaknesses, and how to encourage each other.
She gives the child the freedom he needs to make choices on his own,
so he learns to become more responsible and is able to stand alone.
He’s taught to be strong and think for himself as his soul and spirit heal;
and the puzzle that’s taking shape inside has a much more positive feel.
The child discovers the joy that comes from learning something new.
And his vision grows as he begins to see all the things that he can do.
A picture is formed as more pieces fit -an image of the child within,
with greater strength and confidence, and a belief that he can win!
All because a hero was there in the HEART of a teacher who cared;
enabling the child to become much more than he ever imagined or dared.
A teacher with a HEART for her children knows what teaching is all about.
She may not have all the answers, but on this she has no doubt:
When asked which subjects she loved to teach, she answered this way and smiled,
“It’s not the subjects that matter, it’s all about teaching the CHILD.”
It is my fondest wish that my tiny grandchildren, Helena and Isla, and all other children have the gift of a teacher like this!
Next week, we will begin to look at the range of lifelong learning opportunities available to the general community.