To all of my old classmates featured in this photo, apologies if this is embarrassing! If it makes you feel any better I do appear to be rocking big 80s hair.
The reason for showing this photo is that I wanted to make a point of publicly thanking my standard 1 teacher, Mrs McFetridge. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I was extremely shy and timid as a 7 year old, but had a quiet love of learning. At that age I was fascinated with reading, writing, drawing and story-telling and loved nothing better than putting pen to paper.
My recollection of Mrs McFetridge was that she had a kind voice and spoke to us in a warm, affirming manner. She actively encouraged participation and readily gave us certificates to recognise our achievements in the classroom. I was fortunate to receive numerous certificates and remember feeling so proud of myself. Even better, I got to share these with my family.
When I reflect on this, I realise she was highly effective in using a strengths-based approach to affirm our talents and in making sure these were celebrated. For a child who felt painfully shy, this was a boost to my self-esteem and spurred me on to continue in my quest to develop my writing and presentation skills.
I even remember when she asked me to light a candle in class; even though I was worried I would burn something by accident, I completed it and felt good about my contribution. It’s amazing how the smallest milestones and achievements can mean a lot to a person.
If you happen to be reading this Mrs McFetridge, do know that you made a positive and significant impact in the early years of my schooling. Your kind, generous and supportive nature made me feel comfortable with learning, and I take inspiration from the example you set many years ago.
Thank you for demonstrating how important and valuable the role of a teacher is, in our society. I am truly grateful.