A couple of days ago I saw a few former students who I had the pleasure to teach when they were in grade four – during my first time at Caulfeild Elementary. They were at the school to play four-square and see if the rumour was true, Mr. Cantlie was the new principal. In our conversation they told me about their plans to attend Western and the University of Washington now that they have graduated from Rockridge, they updated me on a number of the students who were in our class (they remain friends with many of them), and spent a lot of time reminiscing about their life at elementary school. The teachers, the lessons, the grounds, and all the pieces that make elementary school a special time in a child’s life.
“Is Mr. or Mrs. _______ still here? I remember when they…”
“I remember the lesson when you…That was a lot of fun.”
“I loved when I had Mr./Mrs. _________ because…”
“What happened to the family picnic. I really liked that event.”
“I remember you being taller.”
and my favourite;
“I have to ask you a question. We were talking about it the other day. Do you really count the points during Sports Day or are they all made up? I remember blue and red winning every year and I was green! I never won a Sports Day.”
Here are high school graduates, grown boys going off to university and still curious about the points on Sports Day.
These are the memories that students carry with them. It is the Joy they find in the learning and the school community that gives them fond memories of their time at school. Activating them as curious learners who intrinsically work to gain new knowledge and learn new skills every year is our role as educators, but the integration of Joy into that learning is how we have the most significant impact. It makes them feel like they belong and encourages them to achieve their best.
It was a great afternoon for me. It reminded me why I do what I do. It’s for the kids. It’s to leave a lasting impression that learning should be fun and engaging, that school can offer so much beyond the lessons in the classroom, and that what we do makes a difference each and every day. When we continue to challenge our students to reach their full potential through best practice and innovative teaching we create lasting memories to inspire future graduates as they journey forward on the path of life-long learning.
Dean Shareski, What Happened to Joy in Education – TEDxWestVancouverED