As another school year draws to a close and children look forward to the summer holidays, it’s time for teachers to reflect on the months that have passed and all they have achieved.
With this in mind, we asked Shanghai teachers to tell us a story about a standout moment from their year that left them inspired. Whether it was witnessing pure acts of kindness, embracing technology for higher efficiency, developing students into confident writers or taking a step back to see how far the class had matured, Shanghai teachers have spent the year learning themselves.
What a memorable way to finish off the year – a reminder that their dedication and passion has resulted in their students possessing a desire to excel, and that all who enter a classroom can learn and grow.
So, let's take a look at what left a lasting impression on the teachers of Shanghai this year. This week, we talk with Michele Turner, who is a Grade 4 teacher at Concordia International School Shanghai.
It isn't often that a 10-year-old knows their role in life. But, then again, not many kids are like my student, Oliver.
"I guess I would say my role is to make people's lives better," Oliver said recently. "Each person I meet, I try to make their day a little bit better."
This year, Oliver's life philosophy has inspired me as a teacher. His commitment to put his beliefs into action was a particularly positive part of this school year. For example, one day out of the blue, I saw a student-made poster hanging in our cafeteria. It said, "If you are experiencing a lonely category in your life, come to the field at recess," and it was signed by Oliver.
I asked Oliver about the sign, and he told me he was concerned about new students at the school who might not have friends. I asked him, "Would you like more volunteers for your program?" This led to the creation of the Lonely Busters Club, a club of volunteers who seek out students experiencing loneliness and offer to play with them. The Lonely Busters, a play on words with Ghost Busters, started recently at Concordia. Oliver and fellow volunteers announced their club at the elementary school assembly. Through a student-produced video, they showcased all the fun activities that Lonely Busters would be willing to do during recess, so that no child played alone. Each of the student volunteers wore hand-made buttons on their shirts, so others would know who to ask to play.
Oliver's mother, Kelly, said that Oliver has always been kind-hearted and people-centered. "He just came out that way," she said. "We didn't do anything. This behavior is all Oliver."
However, Oliver would be quick to compliment his parents. He also spends time nightly chatting with his dad, Corley, discussing his goals in life. "It's great to see Oliver taking the initiative and following through," Corley said in a recent email. "He is wise beyond his years."
Michele Turner is a Grade 4 teacher at Concordia International School Shanghai. She is from Colorado, US, where she worked as a teacher and an elementary school principal. Michele is married to a middle school math teacher and has three children. She has previously taught in Guatemala City and Kuala Lumpur.