It only takes one compliment

My wife is a grade 1 teacher.  For the record, teaching as a profession ranks very high on my own personal humanitarian scale.  Right up there with nursing and welfare officials and parents who has not killed their teenagers.

The one thing I didn’t know about teaching, specifcally when your class is filled with 7 year olds, is the amount of spit, colour, cut and glue you need to do, in order to get through the day.  And then once the teacher gets home, it’s basically more of the same, preparing for the next day.

In the school where my wife teaches, the teacher’s create the most beautiful covers for the note books of the grade 1 kids.  Yes, you didn’t misread the sentence, the parents does not have to cover the books, the teachers do.  They pick the most ingenious ways of using colour, images and ink to create fabulous looking pages for all the kids.  By the way, it is only me or is fabulous a really gay word?

(The reason is that it makes it easier for the kids to identify which books to use.  The teacher will announce something like: “Ok children, we are now going to do some maths, so get out your red turtle books”. And all the kids pick the bright red one. Easy.)

But now I am being side-tracked. See how easy that happens?  What I learned is that these covers takes a lot of time and energy, and I know this, for I have been part of the assembly line.  I am the cutter extraordinaire, whilst my daughter is Gluer, the magnificent.  (My son couldn’t care less, even if he tried, so the boy does nothing.)  My wife, the artist, finishes eveything with her final touches of colour and creativity.

I have come home from work often, finding her with a pair of scissors.  (I should clarify that she doesn’t hold them in a menacing way, well not yet anyhow…)

Today she dished out her latest creation, which had a little lamb standing on a grassy hill, looking up at the title of the notebook: Life orientation.

After all the kids received their new books, this one little girl came up to my wife’s desk and with all sincerity and emotion said: “Ah teacher, this is the most beautiful book ever.  I wish I had two of them.”  And she hugged her own book passionately.

My wife smiled the widest smile.  (OK, I wasn’t there, but I know she did)  She told me that these innocent comments from the kids, makes all the difference.  To know that one kid appreciates her work, makes all the hours spend so much more gratifying.

It’s like recharging an old battery.  And the great thing with teachers, is that it happens daily.  And that, people, is why I love teachers.  They are touching young lives daily, in the most extraordinary way.  Taking pride in moulding their little minds.  (This sounds a bit Frankensteinish, but you know what I mean)

PS – Seeing that this post is about compliments…I came down the stairs this morning, on casual Friday and my son looked at my clothes and said: “Not to shabby dad.”  It left me confused.  If a 12 year old thinks his old man looks pretty good, then realistically I am a 40 year old man dressed as a teenager.  Images of guys with Ferrari’s, thick gold chains and bleached hair spring to mind. (Shhh, but you know them: Mid.life.crisis men.)  Not sure if that is the kind of compliment I need…

Enjoy your weekend.

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