August 1, 2013
Teachers Talk - Years Well Spent
Marsha Kirkham Williams, Teacher, College Park Elementary School, Oshawa, ON

“The soul is healed by being with children.”  (Fyodor Oostoyevsky)
I taught her grandmother; I taught her mom, her uncle, and some of her cousins, and now--in what is part of my fifth decade in the classroom--I will teachher in September. Three generations of the same family.  The branch of her family I reference is the Dooks family of Willowdale/Oshawa.   I first mether great-grandparents, Harold and Janette, in 1970.  Teaching this little 4 year old ‘bud’  from the Dooks’ family tree next year will take my career full-circle.   She is one reason I will teach this final year.
Am I tired of school yet?  Never!  I love it as much as I did when I walked into Toronto Junior Academy as a rookie teacher.  My salary in 1970-71 was about $4600 less than a male of the same qualifications because I was not “head of household”.  I wore dresses or skirts to work daily.  During that first year, with the fashion creation of the “pantsuit”, the Ontario-Quebec Conference allowed female teachers to wear pants—only because the pantsuit top was long enough to cover the hips.  I have been part of the evolution from the mimeograph machine to the printer, from the black board to the Smart Board.  I’ve seen the “Open Concept”, used the “Whole Language” approach, incorporated Co-operative Learning, employedcenters and stations, listened to records on the record player, pushed the buttons on tape cassettes, and spunCD’s. I have grown from a newlywed teacher who was younger than the parents of my students, to a seasoned veteran teaching grandmother.   I have taught pre-school, primary, intermediate grades, middle school, and high school; I have been vice principal and principal, but this one thing stays the same:  the students are what it’s all about!
Allow me to share some smiles from JK, SK, and grade 1 over the decades:
            I went to Canada’s Wonderland.
            I went to Disneyland.
            I went to tomorrow!


Did you know:
As I prepare to teach my final year, I will make some more memories, I’ll savor each month, enjoy the feel of construction paper and smell of crayons, I’ll read favorite treasured books to the children with love, and even revel in the routines and bells.  But most of all, I will memorize the joy on the little faces of the children in my classroom, especially one special little face.   Welcome to my heart, Keanna Brown.