It’s been a week since my grandfather died and I am still reflecting on his life. My grandfather was an elementary teacher and principal in the small town where I grew up. It’s been really interesting to read the tributes and memorials that people have been sharing and it has given me a window into what he was like as an educator because to me, he was Grandpa Reaburn.

One of the comments that keeps coming up was his sense of humour. Many people mentioned the “twinkle in his eye” and that he always seemed to have a joke or laugh with his students. It warms my heart that he had fun with his students as I think school is about rapport and making personal connections and it’s wonderful that my grandfather had the same philosophy.

Another frequent comment was that Grandpa taught “life lessons” not just content. Many former students commented that he helped prepare them for life by teaching about and exemplifying the concepts of fairness, self discipline and happiness. He promoted the idea that everyone has a something special and unique inside and you have to follow that inner passion.

One last aspect of my grandfather’s pedagogy that I learned about this past weekend came from my grandmother. We were talking about planning for lessons and my Grandma asked me if I reuse my lessons year to year. I thought this was an odd question but when I answered that I virtually never do anything the same way twice, she mentioned that Grandpa didn’t either. He didn’t believe in reusing the same lessons because he had different students in front of him and they deserved learning in a way that suits them- not the students from previous years.

It’s amazing to me that although we are teaching decades apart, that we have very similar ideas about education. I am further honoured to follow in his footsteps.

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2 thoughts on “Education- it’s in my blood

  1. Jamie:

    What a gift this is – and how lucky you are to have had your grandparents with you so far into your life. I am the child of teachers, and the grandchild of teachers, so much of your writing resonated with me. I was incredibly lucky, and got to do one of my teaching placements in a school where my grandfather had been principal – it made my day every morning to watch in and say “hi” to his picture on the wall. I miss him, and would love to have had the chance to talk to him about some of the really interesting things that are happening in my teaching and pedagogy now – he would have found in fascinating.

    How great that you got to have the conversation with your grandmother, and that she understood the connection in practice between you and your grandfather. I often think that whenever we get the chance, we should share those things, and celebrate those connections, as well as thank those who shaped the way we teach.

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