Teacher with a capital T

Posted By on Sep 25, 2019 |

The first couple of times I was called Teacher Kath felt a bit strange. Students had always called me Miss Houlahan, Miss Kath, Kathy, or simply Kath. (Or, in the case of babies, variations on Kath/Kathy, like Cass/Cat/Ka-ki.) Being called Teacher with a capital T felt…special. Especially coming from a tiny little toddler who had only met me once a few days before. I was sure that the older child sharing the tire swing was the one calling out to me, but her mouth wasn’t moving. It was the smaller one with the big smile who was waving to me from the playground, saying “Hi, Teacher Kath!” over and over. I felt so special.

We are currently in the midst of celebrating some of our teachers. Teacher Zara just celebrated her three year anniversary, Teacher Renee one year, Teacher Nicole one year. In January, Teacher Rachel will celebrate 25 years. Wow. That’s awe-inspiring. Consider this — Teacher Rachel has taught almost every child who has ever attended Oak Lane. She sometimes bumps into young adults who remember her from twenty years ago! One of my former students, now part of my extended family, asked to be my reference when I applied for this job. Being a teacher is special.

And, it’s important. Like parenthood itself, our relationship with our students isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s a great responsibility, to care for and teach another person’s child. It’s a precious thing, to earn the trust of a child…or a parent. Being a teacher is also humbling.

One of our teachers is certain that one of our youngest babies called me “Kath” the other day. The baby has been babbling a lot, so it may have been a happy coincidence that he hit on the right syllable at the right moment. (Then again, he just said “Achoo” at the exact right time when we were singing On Top of Spaghetti. So…maybe?) He’s not quite a year old, so I don’t expect the word “Teacher” to come out of his mouth anytime soon. When he does eventually call me “Teacher Kath”? That’ll be something to celebrate.