Christmas has come around all too quickly again this year and I’ve found myself rushing to meet end of year deadlines – but amid all the rush I’ve managed to make time to spend helping out at the Christmas Grotto at our local church, which this year has averaged just over 2000 visitors a day over the past ten days.
It’s been a reminder of how this time of year brings out the best in so many people – with grandparents joining parents and young children, all delighting in the sights and sounds of the grotto, and many stories being re-told of experiences of Christmases past, and the memories that are evoked. In the case of the grotto I’ve been helping out at, the whole thing has been put together by a small group of friends who were inspired by the memories they had as children, visiting Santa’s cave at the local department store, or the decorated houses etc – and they wanted to do something that would create memories for their children and many others like them.
It’s been a salient reminder, for me as an educator, of how everything we do creates memories for the students we teach, and those memories are the things that drive, inspire and motivate them in their future – more than the recall of facts, figures and trivia that is often the focus of what we call education.
I was clearing my desk this afternoon and came across a quote printed on something I’d picked up at a conference during the year, it reads:
A teacher affects eternity, he (sic) can never tell where his (sic) influence stops” – Henry Adams
Now there’s something worth musing as we enter the festive season and enjoy time with family, relatives and friends – and reflect on what we’ve done in the year past in our various roles.