An ode to a very special teacher

This post is about my year 6 teacher. It’s now 20 years ago that I sat in her Macksville classroom each day. She was a bright soul in my life’s journey and her presence has stayed with me through it all.

On a summer afternoon I sit at my school desk and sing Otis Redding along with the cassette. I am 12 and my little song book is in front of me, my thoughts a never ending current under my feet. The fractured and fanciful cloud over my head moves aside for a while as I focus in on what my teacher is saying. I am present and I feel safe. I feel wanted and valued and special.

A special person created a space for this moment, she invited me into a world where I was good enough…

There are moments in time that change our next chapter. And next chapters lead always to more and more and more. They determine the “later” and “what next” and “just maybe”. These moments are so strong they can never be shattered by even the passing of time. They crystallise and harden like fossils and remain to show evidence of where you have come from and why you are here.

In my young life I wanted so badly to be good, to feel bright and shine like a jar full of glow worms. Not like a light bulb of course because it’s altogether too structured and perfect and engineered. But glow worms I could get. Can you have a glow worm as your spirit animal? I’ve decided the answer is yes. And it was mine.

But I was a “gifted underachiever” and that doesn’t sound bright at all don’t you agree? I was scattered and disruptive and zany and creative in a way that didn’t shine well from the box called School. I loved my friends but found it hard to apply myself in the classroom. I would spend all my energy perfecting each title page and opening paragraph but quickly lost interest as I moved onto something else. I felt lost and a little weird. Like a glow worm that didn’t know how to find that illusive luminosity.

Until her.

Ode to Mrs G

Dear Mrs G you will go down in history. The history of me and my own little world. But history no less, you shall be a bright beacon in the story of how I found space to be me.

Your patience was endless, your discipline refocused, your stories were wonderful, your music was bliss. I felt like a flower that grew many petals and big glossy leaves and a few clever tendrils.

You said I was good and a bright little spark. You nurtured my talent and gave me ways to take part. I nestled into your classroom like a baby bird and was fed every day with the best. And I loved this new world of possibilities and promise. It felt freeing to be known for just who I was.

I look back on that time with very warm feelings and memories of sunshine both outside and in. I wonder if it all was just figments of dreams but my yearbook says no, I was thriving back then. I aimed for achievement and enrichment with your guidance. I played music and solved puzzles and got credits no less. I was Vice Captain – so proudly! – and a very chuffed member of the Tournament of Minds… me?! Why yes!

Flash forward two years when my heart broke in two as my parents said “we’ve got to go live in the city”. There you were wishing me the best in the next years. Your push to apply for a performing arts school and state choir was all that I needed to work hard on that goal. And then there I was in that spot of sublimeness – a performing arts student and a soprano of state!

Your encouragement was vital to give me a boost towards something that glistened and glowed. Your light shone a path to my very own glow-wormy-self. Through struggles and challenges crossing my way, your impression remains to this day. An imprint of “you’re wonderful and bright like a glow worm” is felt on the core of my life. My old year 6 teacher you really were brilliant and for that I say “thank you” even though it can never express the ripples of wonder you’ve spread all through my days.

So here’s to Mrs G, a tip top teaching force. A friend and a mother duck and a mentor at least. You still make me well up with warm fuzzy feelings, you still mean the world to little ole me.

me and mrs geerlings2




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