When I met Aaron (all those years ago!) he had worked at Woolworths for around 10 years or so. When we got married he used to wake up every morning so depressed as he absolutely hated going to work. He never looked forward to going and was just going through the motions to get through the day. I don't think it matters what your job is at all - as long as you enjoy doing it and feel like you are growing as a person and also in the job. If Aaron loved working at Woolworths, things would've been a lot better for both of us, but the fact was that he hated it and felt like he wasn't capable of doing anything else. He left school at the end of year 11 and started working at Coles and then Woolies and stayed there. He became manager of different sections in the store, but still hated going to work every day. After (a lot!) of encouragement from me he finally decided to resign from his full time job and go to being a casual, to go to uni as a mature aged student.
He started off not really knowing what he wanted to do - first of all social work, then completing a degree in computing and then going on to do another two years to get his Bachelor of Teaching. It was a VERY long 6 years with me working full time teaching for the first two years, then us both not working as Jalen was born and then Noah being born and diagnosed with hydranencephaly (and having very little money to get by) before he finally finished his second degree. He was very blessed to do his pracs at Kings Meadows High and was then asked to come back to do his internship which they said they would actually pay him to do (which is VERY unusual) as the teacher he would be replacing was going on long service leave.
He was lucky enough to be offered a full time teaching position at KMHS straight out of uni and to win his permanent position just a couple of years later. Looking back it's hard to believe the things that he has been through to finally have a job that he absolutely loves and gets excited about getting up to go to.
This week has been another roller coaster week for Aaron as his grade 10s have had their 'leavers week' (thanks to the students who took photos!).
Being the grade 10 Grade Leader and also the Prefect Coordinator he has gotten very close to the students in grade 10. On Wednesday they had their leavers assembly. Aaron said he got up to speak and put a big box of tissues up on the podium (so they would think he was going to cry - which actually wasn't really a joke as he has cried many times this week!) and said 'I have really bad hayfever at the moment).
I have loved hearing about different students and seeing him with them - especially as about 20 of them were in my Kinder class at Youngtown in my first year out teaching. Aaron would often come home and talk about this student or that student like I should've known who he was talking about and I would have no idea until he would show me a photo of my old Kinder class and I was like 'are you serious!!!!' as some of them look so different to how they were in Kinder.
He is like a friend to the students, but they also respect him so much as a teacher and all want to be in his classes. I know many parents have asked for their child to be in his classes as it would mean their child would actually like going to class.
He doesn't care at all about making a fool of himself and loves getting up and having a go with the students. Last week he decided that the students would put on a dance at the leavers assembly. Anyone in grade 10 could join in and he 'taught them' (with a lot of help from Miley Cyrus on YouTube!) the Hoedown Throwdown. It made me laugh as he had laughed at me many times trying to learn it for the youth dances at church and now it was my turn to laugh at him as he realised it wasn't as easy as it looked!
Some of the guys told him they would only go in it if he got up in assembly with them, which he did.
The great thing about teaching is the last week of school you always get lots of goodies and presents from the students. It's very dangerous that he leaves them in the cupboard all day as he often gets home and his chocolates are almost gone :)
The students all wrote in a book for him and it's so nice reading what they wrote. Some of them said some really touching things like:
'...you've been an awesome role model to me and many others. You have never been my teacher in the classroom but I've learnt more off you than any other teacher, respect, loyalty, friendship and just how to love life everyday'...
'...you are more than a teacher to me, to me you are a good friend. Thank you for cheering me up when I felt down, you helped me so much through a lot of troubles'...
'I know I wasn't always the best kid but I would really like to thank you for giving me a chance to see I wasn't always that bad'...
and '...thanks for making all 4 years of high school enjoyable. You brighten everyday with your jokes and kid attitude'...
Some other things they wrote cracked me up as well:
'...what can I say? You are a great teacher, not just for teaching but for putting smiles on people's faces. I'm still deeply mad that I wasn't in your maths class so to punish you I'm leaving this school forever and taking everyone with me' :)
'...you are a good teacher and a good bloke...'
'...what can I say, you were one strange man and that is why everyone loved you so much...'
'...thanks for teaching me, but for the times you gave me consequences for smoking and my uniform..that's not nice! miss ya!...'
'..at the beginning of the year I just knew you as the teacher with the cute kids...'
'...you are the sickest teacher ever...'
and '...don't wear gay vests...'
He got a really lovely card from one of the prefects yesterday who said that out of everyone he had to say goodbye to, it was hardest saying goodbye to him.
When Aaron first got into uni he decided to do social work as he wanted to help people, but after a while it just didn't seem right so he changed to a different degree. Now he is a teacher he can see that he helps his students every day - not just by teaching them maths, science, P.E. or IT, but by helping them believe in themselves and letting them know they can be happy and do whatever they want to do in life - he is living proof of it.
Every year he says it won't be as good as the last as he gets really close to his students - especially this year. Hopefully after summer holidays he will be ready for another great year and will love it even as much as he loved this one.