Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cleared for take-off

My dad is no longer a high school teacher; he retired in June, and it was one of the reasons Michael and I went home for a visit a few weeks ago. My mom pulled off a wonderful bbq with some friends and colleagues, and everyone had nice things to say about my dad's career. I knew that I would be saying a few words before I gave Dad a couple of treats, but I was stumped. Thankfully, Shannon had prepared a little speech, which she emailed to me. I presented it with added flair by blubbering through the whole thing. It was a happy occasion, but I guess I was emotional because, like Shannon says, my dad was one of my favorite teachers of all time. Have a look at her words, below.

Today you are all here with my dad to celebrate his retirement. Thank you! My dad truly deserves to be honored on this day for being one of the best teachers so many students ever had; I know this because he was my teacher in high school too, one of my best teachers.

Even in his last few years of teaching, my dad was still learning, teaching new material and inspiring his students to learn. He didn't become one of those teachers we have all had: the ones who are done years before their retirement, boring their students to death with their sheer lack of interest in their profession. I know my dad was present right till his last day of teaching.

I am really happy that my dad had so many rich and diverse teaching experiences in his career: Spruce Lake, Cudworth, Saskatoon, Regina, South End, Saskatoon, Rosetown and finally Saskatoon again. If anyone knows the different kinds of high school kids in the large geography of Saskatchewan, it's my dad!

And his range of subjects always fascinates people; I love telling people aviation studies and drama in the same sentence. Wowee. He really got to teach what he loved and I believe that the students he taught knew that too.

Dad, you will have the opportunity now to do many different things and teach in many different environments, but you may end up back in a high school, and that's ok too! You're at home in that environment and your amazing connection with high school kids will never change. Thank you for inspiring so many people to keep learning.

6 comments:

Erin C. said...

Erin, what a lovely speech! Your parents both look so pleased. Your dad was a terrific teacher - he was so exotic because he wasn't from Rosetown! And he seemed so confident that we would all go on to do cool things with our lives. Plus, he let us swear in Drama, and dissect song lyrics in English! I hope I have the same passion for my job that your dad has for teaching. Good speech!

Erin C.

robyn. said...

i wish your dad was my teacher.

i remember when i came to visit you in rosetown, you went off to do something and your dad chatted to me about 'zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance'. it was the first time a friend's dad bothered to talk to me about something other than the weather. it made me feel nice.

Imtiaz said...

I would actually go back to high school now to have your dad teach me. When I think of all the ineffectual and incompetent teachers I've had (whose names and faces I can't even recall), I think it's such a shame that there aren't more like your dad.

Erin said...

Speaking of recalling faces, one thing that I forgot to mention during my presentation is the significant number of former students that see my dad on the street and feel the need to say hi. It's cute. Some of them are recent students, but many of them will come up to him with their own kids in tow. Of course, he rarely remembers them (and sometimes I think he wishes he wasn't so recognizable). When you think of all of the students he's taught over the years, I'm surprised he even remembers my name!

Erin said...

Also, I wish Robyn was my teacher. Check out her latest blog post to see how awesome her projects are.

sarah said...

That's so cute, Erin! I haven't really had many teachers like that in all my years of schooling. I wish I had! If only my parents had moved to Saskatchewan...

PS: I could tell from the pictures of your parents that they are huggers! They just have that look in their eyes...