By Andy Burrell
Sharing is Caring
I handed in my notice today. In a month’s time I will no longer be teaching but I will never stop being a teacher. I will never lose that desire to share with people. And teaching is no one-way street. You stand to get out just as much as you put in if you keep your mind open and understand that everyone in the room will be an expert in something, and no matter how seemingly banal or irrelevant that something is you might, someday, have cause to ask them about it.
A month before I start and I’m learning already. I’m wrestling with my self-inflicted inability to read, exercising parts of my brain that I used veraciously as a child but have allowed to become flabby and malnourished as I’ve grown accustomed to relying on tech to spell my words and do my research for me. Yet, despite the fact that tech is entwined in our day-to-day lives now, it still incenses me when I see one of my school parents cop out and give a child an iPad rather than a book like it’s some kind of luminous, hypnotic pacifier. For me, childhood isn’t about passive entertainment. It’s about grazing your knees, drawing pictures, dressing up and telling stories. Maybe I’m just a hypocrite.
Leaving my kids is going to be gut wrenching. If you don’t like kids you don’t teach. But if you’ve made a conscious choice to teach pre-school for seven years then there must be something that was keeping you there, and believe me, it wasn’t the money. I embrace the chance to engage with my inner child. It’s how I do my best work, finding the magic in everything, not putting boundaries on the possible and showing no fear.
The inner child wants to share. Anyone who has spent time with a four year old will know they start most sentences with “did you know,” followed by one heck of a dull fact. But they believe in the value of that fact with so much conviction that it becomes fascinating. A good story is all in the telling.
Let’s spend this year being that kid. Let’s find the fascinating in everything. Let’s be brave, take risks and reap the rewards (and pencils). Let’s share our knowledge, recommend music, debate and be generous with each other. Let’s do favours, ask questions, make suggestions, hold hands and help.
As my school kids would say, “sharing is caring.”