I began teaching at age 25 in the public school system, though I had been teaching catechism and Church Choir prior to that. I originally wanted to study law, but at age 20, found myself in the education faculty, studying Drama, Choral Music, Language Arts and Social Studies. I honestly don’t know how it happened. It just did.
I wish I had a fancy philosophy but I really do not. It is simply this:
I have taught for thirty years. Everyday I have shown up to school and tried to do my best. I may not have always felt my best, if I had a cold, or if I was kept up all night by my own children, but everyday I tried to make a difference.
My Dad encouraged me to do one good deed a day. My Mom taught me to smile when it was raining. It rains a lot in Vancouver.
My biggest thrill was to prepare children, young and old, to hit the stage and then watch them deliver the wow factor to the audience: I saw tears in their parents’ eyes when they looked upon their children. I loved to watch a child hold their head up high as if to say “I did it!”
Teaching in the Primary Years Program (PYP) has been the pinnacle of my educational career. Having switched to this educational program I intend to remain in the PYP for the rest of my teaching years.
That’s what it’s all about: children, being given the opportunity to experience greatness, whether it comes from them or their peers.
As a theatre director, the litmus test was for me to walk out of the theatre, knowing the show would go on without me.
I did my job if I wasn’t needed anymore; the show now belonged to the students: student ownership, student accountability, students’ personal expectations of themselves. That is education.
One of my colleagues, a librarian, observed me carefully for six years at Central Jr. Secondary School. He summed me up this way:
“Charlotte, you are exactly the same person in the classroom as you are in everyday life. You don’t put on a phony show, you just bring yourself to the moment. You have the ability to bring the very best out of people and often you bring out talents that people didn’t even know they possessed.”
I always thought those were kind words. Funny how, after all the things we experience day in and day out, we remember the kind words said to us.
That’s something to remember: never speak cruelly to a child; strive to find the good in everyone. That’s all.
Favourite words to live by:
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”― Mother Teresa