Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.
The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’
In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2022
It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 50,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. You can find out how to participate at the end of the post.
Today author and retired teacher Pete Springer reflects on the delayed rewards of teaching as he meets up with some former students making their way successfully in the world.
Teaching – An Investment in the Future by Pete Springer
Former Elementary Students Returning to Our School Before High School Graduation
Some might think that teachers spend one year with students, and then the relationship ends for both student and teacher. I knew that is true for some, but for many teachers, we hold onto those bonds with our students for a lifetime.
I’m grateful to live in the same city I taught, and I frequently run into former students on my travels. I even taught some of my students’ children over the last few years of my career. One of the most mind-blowing aspects of teaching was to hold a parent-teacher conference with a parent who used to be one of my students.
It’s such a kick for me to find out what happened to my students. Are they married? Do they have children of their own now? I know it won’t be that many years before some of my students have grandchildren. What career path did they choose? Did any become teachers themselves? I take special pride in that. I even had the great fortune to teach with one of my former fifth-grade students in the last few years of my career. How cool is that?
Former Fifth Grade Student and Current Teacher, Kelly
When these planned or chance encounters happen, I treasure them. I still occasionally get a letter from one of my students telling me about something exciting happening in their life. I’ve attended birthday parties, graduations, weddings, housewarming parties, and more. I’ve hired past students to work for me. There are few better feelings in life than watching a former pupil succeed in life.
This raises the question of what defines success? I think it’s different for everyone, but happiness must enter the equation somewhere. Some may think of it as making lots of money and having many material possessions, but I believe the bar should be higher than that. Success to me means making a positive difference in the world somehow. The trick is for each of us to find our path in achieving that. It could mean being a good parent, volunteering with organizations that are doing important work, cleaning up your city, painting a mural, or the hundreds of other creative ways that we can help those in our community. One of the secrets I’ve discovered is that I’m happiest when helping others because it makes me feel good about myself.
Being a former educator, I value literacy. I joined the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival Committee after I retired. This organization helps bring nationally known children’s authors to our local schools biennially to talk to kids about their books and writing. Children see these authors and illustrators and think, “I could do that too.” Since I’m writing children’s novels in retirement, it was a natural fit for me. Right now, I’m the only male on the approximately twenty-five-person committee, but that doesn’t bother me in the least.
Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival Committee (I’m the lone male—in the middle of the back row.)
Two weeks ago, I had the good fortune of seeing two of my former students on the same day. First, I had breakfast with Veronica, who I taught in 4th grade. She is married with three daughters. I’m proud of her because she has an important job working with the developmentally disabled. I know she is a tremendous advocate for them because she is that type of person. Veronica’s oldest daughter is Juliana, now a college student. I felt privileged to teach Juliana for part of 2nd grade before her family moved out of the school district. I remember her as being intelligent and mature for her age.
Breakfast with Former 4th grade Student, Veronica
Veronica’s daughter, Juliana, from 2nd Grade
Later in the day, I dropped by and visited Mychal in town at his informational campaign gathering. He is running for Humboldt County Auditor/Controller in the upcoming election. I admire his desire to try and make a difference in our community by serving the public. It takes courage to run for public office, and I am happy to see that he is up to the challenge. I had the opportunity to teach Mychal for two years in fourth grade and then again two years later in sixth grade. He was a great all-around student. It meant a lot to me when he came by to my book signing at our old elementary school a few years back, and the least I could do was to return the favor.
Former 4th and 6th Grade Student, Mychal at My Book Signing
Recent Photo with Former Student, Mychal—Now a Candidate for Humboldt County Auditor/Controller
These encounters are what I call the delayed rewards of teaching. Watching children grow into responsible adults is the best. I’ve always looked at education as an investment in the future. How wonderful to see some of that investment come to fruition!
©Peter Springer 2022
My thanks to Pete for participating in the series and what a wonderful reflection on a lifetime of teaching to see students thriving and still sharing their lives with him.. I know he would love to hear from you.
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 three 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!
While I was teaching, I decided that one day I would write books for children. That ship is now in the harbor. I took some writing workshops, found a writing critique group, joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and I recently finished writing my first middle-grade novel. I’ve always connected with kids, and this is my new way of teaching.
My debut MG novel, Second Chance Summer, just got professionally edited, and I will be querying in the coming weeks.
One of the reviews for the book that I can also recommend
Pete Springer’s memoir about his first years teaching is a delightful story for new teachers and will have experienced educators nodding along with him. His early experiences remind all of us of the joy inherent in teaching:
“This job required about as much brainpower as my tree planting experience.”
“This is the story of how I fell in love with teaching and the joys and challenges that this noble profession provided to me over the course of thirty-one years.”
He breaks the book into chapters every teacher will understand:
How did i get here
Setting up your classroom
Working with students
Working with colleagues
Working with your boss
…and more. Aside from grading, parents, lunch duty, conferences, and yard duty, these are the biggest issues we teachers face. I’m a veteran teacher of thirty years and still I couldn’t wait to read Pete’s take on these timeless issues.
“Instead of saying, “Do everything my way, and you can become a successful teacher,” she was giving me her permission to find my way.”
“…storytelling was one of the most successful methods to get my students to pay attention.”
“…when we lose our calm, we are teaching them that it is okay to behave in this manner when something is not going right.”
Every new teacher will benefit from Pete’s daily experiences of what in the end results in a journey well traveled with more importance than most of us would car eto admit. Educational philosophies change. Favorite tools like iPads and Chromebooks change. What never changes is the fundamentals that Pete covers in this book:
“…tell the kids when I made similar mistakes growing up.”
“I do think that it is possible for parents or schools to provide too many rewards for kids.”
Overall an excellent book. If you’re a new teacher, I’d call this an essential read prior to your first day.
How to feature in the series?
- All I need you to do is give me permission to dive in to your archives and find two posts to share here on Smorgasbord. (email@example.com)
- Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random of general interest across a number of subjects from the first six months of 2022. (it is helpful if you have a link to your archives in your sidebar by month)
- As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
- If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
- As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
- Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
- Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
- Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post especially if you are using the block editor
- If I do share a post which contains mainly photographs I will share up to five and link back to the original post for people to view the rest.
N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.
Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could leave a comment and share the post… Sally.