I don’t really remember much about my 2nd grade curriculum. I can’t tell you about the worksheets or the math books that were used, but I can tell you a lot about Mrs. Hayes. She is the person who inspired me to become a teacher. Connie Constance Hayes. She had the brightest eyes and the most contagious laugh. She was always ready with a hug and a kind word. She made learning fun and exciting because she loved not only what she taught, but also who she taught. I am quite sure that I was her favorite kid. But perhaps everyone thought they were Mrs. Hayes’ favorite kid. Jim Henson said, “[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember who you are.”
In the McKay School we spend our days learning how to teach. We learn skills that will ultimately make us better teachers and prepare us for the rigors of teaching. The lessons we learn are clearly valuable, but even more important is our individual growth. We must grow in love; we must learn charity and compassion. We need to possess a depth of understanding and love that can be felt by those whose lives we hope to change. We need to take the heartbreaks we’ve experienced and let them shape us into compassionate and empathetic people. We need to possess a depth of understanding and love that can be felt by those whose lives we hope to change. Taheri Mafi said it this way: “All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being; not just with my hands, but with my heart.”
As we continue our education, we need to make sure that we are learning, not only with our intellect, but also with our hearts. I will know that I have truly become a teacher when my students all believe that each of them is my favorite kid.