Who I am today is my choice, but there are many factors that have influenced my choices. Reflecting back, I’d have to say the top two influencing factors in my life have been my parents and my faith in God, but as my daughter returns to school this week, I got to thinking how much influence school had on who I am today.
We all have or will spend a lot of time in our lives in school. By the time you are 18, you will have spent on average almost one third of your life in school (and school programs) and when you consider that another third of that time is spent sleeping, well, you can see how much influence your time in school will have on who you are.
Some things that stand out from my memories of school:
Mr. Thiessen, my bus driver, who chatted with a very shy little girl all the way to kindergarten. He was the bright spot to the start and finish of each day.
The rough boys who ran through the lineup and caused me to drop and break my Dukes of Hazard lunch box. (I still miss that lunch box. Sniff)
My Grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Brown introduced us to purple cabbage. Wow! That was the coolest vegetable ever!
Mrs. Gowder, my Grade 2 teacher who read our class stories about Briar Rabbit and Briar Fox
Playing with Grade 2 and 3 friends during recess and lunch and one day receiving a whole pack of gum from a grade 7 boy named Marvin.
Learning gymnastics, soccer, cheerleading and cross country skiing at Topley Elementary and Ms. Gunther creating gymnastics shows for me to show my routines off to the whole town (Topley had about 300 people in it) while she played her violin. (PS, Mr. Jim Iker was my sister’s teacher for two years at that school.)
Being bullied daily by a group of kids. Being called Moose and coming home crying many days in grades 4, 5 and 6.
My grade 6 teacher who was on exchange from Australia who played soccer in his bare feet and told us wonderful stories about Australia.
Mr. Oxendale, my volunteer band teacher who taught me to play the saxophone, brought me to festivals and said I was ready to play jazz.
My high school English teacher, Mr. Culos, who said if we knew the answer, he would do a headstand at the front of the class…and he did do the headstand too!
My sewing and cooking teacher, Mrs. Gyoba who taught us to be very accurate and precise in our creations.
Playing on basketball, volleyball and track teams with coaches who volunteered their leisure time for us. Oh what fun! Oh what memories! Oh what wonderful experiences!
I could say more about my school experiences, but I notice that each of these memories, whether positive or negative all have to do with a connection with a person or people. This just reiterates what I’ve been thinking about lately. It is of utmost importance that we provide as many opportunities for kids to connect in a healthy way with peers, school staff role models and with community role models. We can all do our part to nurture our kids. You’ve heard the saying, it takes a community to raise a child, well that means you and me. Let’s all do our part to nurture healthy connections with schools and with kids to provide wonderful role models for kids to choose to be the best version of themselves.
Coach Vicky Trill