This series of Posts from Your Archives is exclusively for blogs that are under a year old. It is an opportunity to meet new readers and to show off your writing skills.. All the details are in this post along with some tips on how to make your blog more reader friendly.
This is the final post from educator and author Pete Springer who began blogging in April this year. I am sure you will agree that he has made a fantastic start to his new project. I think most of us who have finished our careers allegedly to retire, find there are elements of our jobs that are missed, and in this post, Pete shares the ones that he misses the most about teaching.
What I Miss Most About Being a Teacher by Pete Springer
I often describe teaching as the hardest and most rewarding job I ever had. While I’ve been happily retired for three years, there are certain parts of the job that I miss. It is hard to let go of something that was such a large part of my life for thirty-one years.
The thing that I miss the most about teaching is an absolute no-brainer. It is and always will be the students. It’s hard to put into words how special my students were to me. Teachers often refer to their students as “their kids”, and most of us mean that literally. Even though many of my former students are now adults, I still picture them as “my kids”.
I still get the occasional unexpected letter from a former student thanking me for being a good teacher or because they want to tell you about some exciting moment in their life. The fact that they want to share significant life events reinforces how important the teacher/student relationship is.
I’ve been to birthdays, graduations, weddings, and housewarming parties of prior students. I’ll never forget the second-grade boy who brought in an invitation for me to attend his sleepover. Of course, I didn’t attend, but what a precious memory.
I’ve always maintained that the student/teacher is mutually beneficial. While I was trying to be a good teacher and role model to my students, I wasn’t aware (when I first started) how much I would get back from them. When you demonstrate through your actions that you care about your students, they pay you back many times over.
Children can also be the best teachers. One of the most beautiful qualities of elementary students is their ability to forgive each other when they have a conflict. You seldom see children hold a grudge because most want to be friends with everyone. Nearly all of the children I taught were respectful and tolerant of individual differences. My experience was that kids were far less prejudicial or judgmental than many adults I know.
A wonderful part of being a teacher was the opportunity to work with other dedicated professionals. I had so many different jobs in my life, but educators develop a special kinship in a way I never felt in any other position. It is the type of camaraderie one shares with any close team. I imagine it is the same feeling that people in a military platoon or college sports team form. Not only were so many of my colleagues outstanding educators, but they were also good people.
I once made a list of the twenty most influential people in my life, and over half of them were former teachers or people I worked with in education. A good teacher can influence a person for the rest of his/her life.
I was blessed to work with so many outstanding people during my educational career, and some are still role models to me in retirement. One of the people in my writing critique group, Nancy, was one of my master teachers during my student teacher year, and she later became my colleague and principal. She has been a lifetime mentor to me, and her passion for education and children is infectious. It’s been wonderful to spend time with her each week. Many of her writing pieces are about former students that she taught.
My educational family is so important to me that each month we gather for a retirement lunch. While much of the talk centers around travel and grandchildren, I can always count on the conversation turning back to former students at some point. We laugh and share memories and take pride when we learn about accomplishments that our former students have made in their lives.
When you teach long enough, especially at the same school, you form lasting relationships with many of your students’ families. Part of a teacher’s responsibility is to keep your students’ families informed. You should be working in conjunction as a team. Sometimes it wasn’t easy—not all parents are going to be active and supportive. On the other hand, when parents see how much you care, the chances of garnering their support becomes far more likely.
Since I live in the same community that I taught in, I have the frequent pleasure of running into old students and their families. It is always great to hear what my former students are doing now. One of the things I take special pride in is that some of my prior students have become teachers—one in the elementary school where I taught.
I taught long enough that by the end of my career, I was teaching many second-generation students. What a pleasure it was to have a parent tell me that he/she wanted to have their child in my class because of the positive experience they had when they were my student.
The Privilege of Teaching
I miss the responsibility of being a teacher. It is not a job that any educator should take lightly. I had several teachers who were role models and guided me when I went through school, and I welcomed this challenge as a teacher. How many people get the opportunity to help change lives?
You see some heartbreaking things when you are in education. I taught students who lost a parent or sibling the year they were in my class. Some of my children had to endure the breakup of their parents’ marriage or watch a loved one go to prison. Not every story has a happy ending. Life is not always fair, and the innocent victims in situations such as these were often the kids.
In spite of this, every school year had moments of joy. One of the regular things that made me the happiest was watching students feeling proud of themselves from their accomplishments. Sometimes the rewards don’t come the year a child is in your class but manifest themselves years later when you see that your students have grown into responsible young adults.
Perhaps you could share the things you miss the most from your previous life before becoming a writer and blogger?
©Pete Springer 2019
About They Call Me Mom
Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff. Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model. This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. -Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)
One of the reviews for the book
I personally love this book. Peter Springer was my second grade teacher in my elementary school days and I have to say he was one of my favorites no doubt. You could tell that he truly valued the significance of early education. I can’t think of a single one of my friends that were not excited about going to Mr. Springers class everyday!
When I was informed that Mr. Springer was finishing his lifelong dream of developing a book to pass down his experiences, I knew I had to get a copy of the book. It was no surprise that the book was absolutely inspiring. Reading his book brought back some of those wonderful memories of growing up and being excited to go to school everyday. Peter Springer really has a way with kids and the story of how he found his passion for helping kids reach there dreams is a story that everyone must hear!
It is crucial to provide a foundation for kids to dream, learn, and grow. In this book, Peter Springer emphasizes how important it is to give kids this type of environment to ensure that they reach their dreams and goals in the future.
Peter Springer inspired me as well as many other students throughout the years. If you read his book and learn his story, I’m sure you will be inspired as well!
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/They-Call-Mom-Difference-Elementary/dp/1977200052
Other buy links: https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/buy/
About Pete Springer
My name is Pete Springer. I taught elementary school for thirty-one years (grades 2-6) at Pine Hill School in Eureka, CA. Even though I retired over two years ago, my passion will always lie with supporting education, kids, and teachers.
When I came out of the teaching program many years ago, I realized how unprepared I was for what was in store for me in the classroom. My college education focused mostly on learning theory rather than the practical day-to-day challenges that all teachers face. Thankfully, I had some great mentors to lean on to help support me in the early part of my career.
I have made it my mission to pay it forward to the next generation of teachers. I was a master teacher to four student teachers, and I have several former students who are now teachers, including one who teaches at my former elementary school. That is pretty cool!
Connect to Pete
My thanks to Pete for allowing me to access his archives posts and share them with you.. Please head over and explore Pete’s blog further.. thanks Sally.