In 1986, I was a chatty but sensitive 6 year old as I entered the grade one class of Mrs. Marilyn Tobin at Sacred Heart Elementary in Tors Cove. So many years later, I can still visualize that room. I can still see her wooden stool and hear her voice as she read stories and sang songs.
Mrs. Tobin taught us to read and write, she taught us math and world events and healthy living and religion. But more importantly she taught us to be kind, to care for each other, to listen respectfully. She did that by demonstrating it to us.
Growing up, I always wanted to be like Mrs Tobin. In 2002, I had the wonderful fortune of doing my teaching internship with Marilyn. To her, I was never “just an intern”. I was a teacher. She pushed me, she mentored me and she modelled, yet again, all the qualities that make a terrific teacher.
I learned so much from her in those 4 short months. I learned about knowing your kids as people, knowing what they like, what’s happening in their lives and what makes them happy, sad, mad, and excited. I learned that taking time to make gingerbread houses and paper cup lilies is as important as writing lines or adding numbers. When I finished my internship, she gave me a tiny gold pin of a teaching angel that I went on to wear to all of my future job interviews. I thought so much of her that I even invited her to my 2005 wedding.
In 2008, our paths crossed again when I had the chance to teach her beautiful daughter in grade 5. Like her mom, Rachael was kind, hard working and a genuinely good person. It made me so proud to be able to use the skills I learned from Marilyn to teach her daughter.
I can honestly say that I would not be the kindergarten teacher that I am now if it were not for her. I remind myself constantly to teach the child, not the curriculum. I know that if I have learned anything in all my years of university and work experience, that was the most important thing.
Thank you, Mrs. Tobin for inspiring me. I hope someday I can impact just one child as you impacted me.