In Australia I spent a heck of a lot of money on educating my four fantastic children. It won’t surprise many that as an educator, and someone who got her post-secondary education ‘the freaking toughest way you’d ever decide to’, education is my priority. It’s what I do. It’s really my life.
As a full-time teacher at Granville TAFE, my favourite times have been at TAFE graduations, watching refugee immigrants to Australia graduating with a TAFE qualification, and the pride they have with even the youngest of their families in suits, to see dad or mum graduate with their diploma. It’s about so much more than the qualification – for the parents as well as the kids. And I sincerely miss it more than I can say.
In Australia we live in a lovely semi-rural environment. To get access to the education I wanted for our children I made sacrifices. I’m not just talking about not taking holidays. I mean taking my own cut lunches to work, not buying coffees at cafes, working outside of the home even though caring for four children is more than a full-time job in itself - real middle class stuff that means giving my kids an education I wanted them to have. Even then, however, I had issues. Teachers cutting corners. Not doing the job I wanted. A few times I was forced into a dialogue with the principal about issues that never should have arisen.
So we moved to Boulder. I have been asked a few times how I started with making such a big move. Well, the first thing I did was check out the schools.
Before anything else, I checked out how the school system worked and found the best school for our children. THEN when that was decided, I looked for the house. (Which is basically next door to the school – WIN).
And after nearly a school year at Bear Creek Elementary, I have to say I have never, ever seen educators like this – even through paying an exorbitant amount in Australia. Literally.
Our children are thriving in an environment which is supportive, works with families and absolutely and unequivocally wants kids to succeed. When I meet with my kids’ teachers, I am regularly brought to an emotional state (insert *embarrassing try-to-hold-back-tears-moments here). Their care and concern for my children is so touching it makes me want to be a better parent every single time – to keep track with their own concern. (And hey, I’m already a pretty awesome mum.)
And it makes me want to be a better educator at college level too. I want to help other people reach beyond their comfort zone. To find their feet. To get confident. To look at their futures with anticipation – not trepidation.
I want to be the teacher that my kids have here in the US. Bear Creek Elementary in South Boulder is an incredible foundation of learning for children that I am so grateful for. My kids are thriving in the US – not thinking of academically, (although that’s fine too) but in confidence and strength of personality. Bear Creek’s teachers and principal and support staff are incredible. My family has benefitted directly from everything you do. And I learn from you. And even I gain confidence from you. Thank you so much.