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May 25, 2013

The Starfish Story

My first day of Teacher’s College, my professor told me the story of the starfish and it hit home.  Hard.  I was crying by the time he finished it.  If you’re not familiar with it, here it is:

Since that first day of Teacher’s College, the starfish has become my favourite symbol for teaching.  As a graduation gift, I received a framed version of that story and it hangs in my office.  I read it on a regular basis.
Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot with the fact that the provincial government has imposed new regulations on teachers in Ontario, making it even more difficult for occasional teachers to get hired on permanently. I have been struggling with many frustrations that make me feel as though we are not really doing this for our students, but for the money.  I feel at the mercy of a government who has no idea what it’s like to be in a classroom on a daily basis.  After yet another round of unfair treatment, I decided that I was going to take a leave from supply teaching and move on to something else.  I needed to take some time for me, some time to figure out what I really want out of life.

The day after I made my decision, one of the hardest I’ve ever made and one I’ve contemplated many times but never took the plunge, I got a call from one of the schools where I work regularly.  I was needed to substitute in a Section 23 classroom until further notice.  I went in thinking that this was just another supply teaching job. 

That was a month ago and my last day is Monday.  I am feeling more hopeful, energized.  I know I make a difference, just by being there, even if I’m not a regular classroom teacher just yet.  Although I’m still undecided about what I’m going to be doing in September, I know that I can at least finish this school year as an occasional teacher. 

As a reminder of why I teach and why I put up with all the frustrations surround the many many rules, regulations and policies (and EXCEPTIONS to all those rules, regulations and policies!), I finally got my starfish tattoo.  It’s one that I’ve wanted to get for a few months now, but never really knew where to put it.  I finally decided to get it in that particular spot on my left hand because of a bad habit that I have (If you're a regular reader, you read about this habit of mine back in March.).

I write myself little reminders on my hand all day, every day.  It’s how I remember all the things that I need to do and how I stay sane.  Some people make lists, some set reminders on their cell phones.  I write on my hand.  I’ve done it since I was in high school.  I know it’s the perfect place for my little reminder of why I’m a teacher.  I know it sounds cliché, but if I can make a difference in even one student’s life, then my career as a teacher will have been a successful one.  

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the starfish story, and really like the tattoo!! My own is a little less visible! ;)

    Mrs. Beattie's Classroom


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