The Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Done.
Title – The Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Done.
By – Wendye Harnwell
I haven’t climbed Mt Everest or seen the Canyon Grand
Nor have I back-packed round Australia or trekked the outback lands
Antarctica is not a place that I have ventured to
And although I have been overseas – I have remained true blue.
I’m not a mighty skydiver or a canyon-climbing king
And dangerous white-water-rafting is definitely not my thing
Extreme sports are not the way that I can get my kicks
No it’s teaching in a classroom – that’s where my thoughts transfix.
I’m not an adrenaline junkie, bungee jumping off a bridge
or snowboarding or surfing or hang-gliding off a ridge.
I haven’t tried skin-diving, motocross or formula one
Nor have I been barefoot water-skiing in the sun.
Grass skiing doesn’t interest me, I haven’t in-line skated
Mountain bike and BMX are really over-rated.
Ice hockey and roller derby are definitely far too rough
and rock-climbing and parasailing are simply just too tough.
And so you see I’m no adventurer or extreme sportique freak
The greatest thing I’ve ever done is to teach my class each week
I never did the HSC – I left school in the 5th form
I didn’t want to go to Uni – nor did I conform.
So unqualified I taught at TAFE when I was living out west
I applied to CSU in Bathurst and must have passed the test.
For I studied hard and to my surprise distinctions came my way
And I received a special prize on Graduation Day.
I became a ‘Targeted Graduate’ and got a job ‘real’ quick
I was all prepared of course – I thought I was quite slick
But learning takes a lifetime and my lifetime’s no exception
So each and every class I have gives me a new perception.
Teaching is an art form and I’m the ‘arty’ type … so
I promote the individual and let create juices flow.
I’ve taught out the Back o’ Bourke, teaching aboriginal adults
I’ve even taught the deaf and blind with excellent results.
Of course I’ve taught ‘The-class-from-hell’ – and just survived the task
At least I feel they are more human now – what more could parents ask?
A feral bunch – they entered school on their first day – long past
But now they can all read and write – it’s really such a blast!
So it’s not exploring, discovering or adventuring that I love
I’ve been a clerk and secretary but teaching fits me like a glove
Children won’t slip through my class, feeling less important than they ought
I have always tried to show that special recognition that is sought.
Clearly there is programming, reporting and assessing
And late night’s marking written work – but teaching’s such a blessing,
for children, they are trusted to my care – 30 hours a week!
And I’d like to teach them more that the Capital of Mozambique!
To make a difference in their lives is my real goal and passion
Guiding kids to contemplate – co-operation and compassion
Education’s not just a giant knowledge bank of facts -
It’s lifelong skills to ensure that kids won’t be tempted ‘off the tracks’
As their teacher I become a judge, a mentor or a friend
It really has to be a special kind of blend.
I can have an influence of a monumental kind -
taken to the nth degree – I could change mankind!
But I’m not here to create the ‘super race’ at all
I really want to start very, very small
With kindergarten teaching them the power of who they are
To build their self-esteem – let them know they are a star!
To teach them right from wrong so they’ll not be meeting police
And reinforcing tolerance so bullying will just cease.
To stop frustration and annoyance and work for future peace
And maintain a healthy lifestyle choice so they won’t become obese.
Along the way they’ll learn the academic skills that they’ll need
To follow a future path to a life where they’ll succeed
An innate satisfaction and ‘to yourself be true’.
We need our doctors and our scientists but we need our dustmen too!
So I haven’t gone to sport’s extremes to get my kicks and thrills
Instead I have equipped myself with behavior modification skills
And thrown myself into a class with vigor, zest, and zeal
For it’s in the classroom that I can make a difference that is real.
Especially in the modern class with A.D.D. and more
With oppositional defiant kids who are always keeping score.
There are children with language disorders who need that special attention
And we’re always staying in at lunchtime to supervise detention.
But these make teaching such a buzz, they’re just the unusual perks
My achievements may not appeal to some – but for me it really works.
It’s what produces my adrenaline rush – and makes me feel worthwhile.
I’m a hero to the kids I’ve taught – and I always wear a smile.
The Greatest thing I’ve ever done? I hear you asking me
Well I guess it was going to University at the age of 33
And then following a career that to me – none can beat
The Greatest thing I’ve ever done – is really quite a feat.
By an Aussie Teacher – just like you!