I began teaching English literature at high school level when I finished my undergraduate degree and had just turned 21. Ironically though teaching was my career choice, I’ve never had many people in my life that I’ve truly looked up to.
However when I joined the teaching staff, my head of department immediately made an indelible impression on me. Not only was she one of the most intelligent literary minds I had come across outside of my university lecturers, she was exactly the stern, no nonsense personality I needed to mold my often rebellious spirit.
She had a stoic work ethic coupled with a drive that knew no bounds. She was passionate about all things literature and could inspire even the most disinterested child to take interest in her class.
Over a decade later she is now retired, but we still make time to see each other. I am older and wiser and I credit much of that wisdom to her. As an independent woman, without a husband or children, she also showed me that we could still be of value and respected in society even if we were not someone’s wife/ mother.
I see in her a strength and beauty that I hope to have in my later years through growth. I know that there are still major obstacles to overcome in my life and who knows what changes may happen, but I know that she believes in my ability to survive probably even more than I believe in myself.
Society has changed so much that we tend to discount the importance of these older “teachers” among us. By teacher I do not just mean the profession but the mentors who guide and influence us at different points in our lives.
She has played an invaluable role in both my professional and personal life, and I can only hope that I do the same for the girls I teach everyday.
Boss Lady this one is for you.