I have always loved working with children. I started as a clown at a local restaurant in my home town in Durban, South Africa. I was the entertainment for the children. I loved this job until one day, one of the young students from my school recognised me through my big red nose, rosy checks and curly orange hair! I then went on to become a nanny for families in the USA while attending University studying to become a teacher.

My name is Rachel and I teach FS1. At this time of year I begin to reflect on how the last year has flown by. I think about how far the children in my last class have come since they started a year ago in September. Some couldn’t speak a word of English, some couldn’t use the toilet independently and some would not speak to me even though I tried every trick under the sun.

I have taught for many years now and each year it gets more difficult to say goodbye to the children. Teachers spend so many hours per week with the children in their class that they become part of your life. Even when I am not at school I am thinking about how I can improve my practice so that I can teach them to the best of my ability. But being a teacher, especially in the foundation stage, it is more than just academics. It is the relationship that you build with these small children. The trust between them and you is so special and the impact a teacher has is unbelievable.

The best part for me is how much I learn about myself through these little ones. They teach me just as much as I teach them.

I have come to love and adore every child in my class. They make me laugh, cry (happy and sad tears), they frustrate me but most of all, they make me so proud.

Being a witness to this growth of these children is amazing. They are like little sponges taking everything in. In fact, that can come back to haunt a teacher…when a parent during the parent/teacher interview tells the teacher that their child mimics everything the teacher does at home it leaves the teacher wondering, hoping, praying that whatever the child has mimicked that it wasn’t the day that she was a bit grouchy!

In looking back at before the Summer break, I said goodbye to these wonderful tots so they could continue with their learning experience. The children who couldn’t speak any English, now speak full sentences, the children who didn’t want to talk to me ended up wanting to hold my hand at every chance they got and hold wonderful conversations with me and all of them became independent in so many ways.

I have to admit that it makes me sad to see them go each year and I pray that in some small way that I have made a small difference in their lives and that they will remember me because I will definitely remember them!

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