When you think back on your time in school, what is it that you remember? For me, some of my fondest memories come from Kindergarten. I loved that we had naptime. I remember the dimmed lights in the classroom, finding my spot on the floor, and curling up with my blanket. I don’t remember whether or not I actually slept, but to me, this was a magic; it really was a happy place. I also have fond memories of reading books, painting, and playing with friends. But what I remember most, is my teacher, Mrs. Jarvis. I loved the way she spoke, the way she smiled, and the way she made us feel. Each and every day, as students in her class, we felt just how much she cared about us. When you think back to your schooling, who are the teachers that stand out to you and why?
While I could look back at to Mrs. Jarvis and the many other wonderful teachers I had growing up: Mrs. Clarkson (grade one), Mrs. Kroeker (grade 4), Mr. Baptie (jr. biology), Mr. Topping (TREK), Mr. Wightman (history) to name just a few, today I turn my attention to the teachers I am privileged to work with each and every day. When I first found out I would be working at Cypress Park, I was told over and over what a special school it was. What I didn’t know then was just how special the teachers are.
All combined – Mrs. Sedgwick, Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Koke, and Mrs. Epsenhain – have 42 years experience teaching at Cypress Park and 62 years teaching experience total. And while these facts alone are incredible, they aren’t what make them the master teachers they are. What does, is that they exude a calm confidence when teaching, and just like Mrs. Jarvis made me feel in Kindergarten, they make their students feel loved and important every day.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a Kindergarten classroom in September, but I assure you, it’s the hardest job there is. Here is a glimpse into what it looks like. Kindergarten is arguably the most important year in a student’s education. It’s the year that comes first and sets the foundation for what the next 12 years at school will look like. It’s a big transition for students and parents. Over the past month, I have watched Mrs. Sedgwick handle the ups and downs of Kindergarten with grace and elegance, and awe. She is patient and kind and she has the most incredible and gentle way of connecting with students and parents. Every time I walk into her classroom I am inspired by what I see. Thank you Mrs. Sedgwick for setting our littlest students up for success!
Grade one isn’t much easier but walking into Mrs. Anderson’s classroom you would never know. Her students are engaged, routines are firmly entrenched, and she has already accomplished so much with her class. Her kind, caring nature shines above everything else and Mrs. Anderson always has a smile and a laugh for the students in her class. When asked what was special about Mrs. Anderson, one student remarked, “I just love her so much!” The longest standing teacher at Cypress Park, we are so thankful to have Mrs. Anderson lead the learning with her incredible depth of knowledge, and her ability to reach all learners. Thank you Mrs. Anderson for setting the bar high for the rest of us!
When we send our children to school each day, we entrust them to their teachers. We hope that they will take care of them and treat them as if they were their own, and that’s exactly what Mrs. Koke does. Her ability to genuinely honor what each student has to bring is remarkable. Students in her class are so excited to see her each morning, and throughout the day they consistently share little tidbits of their lives with her. This speaks to the connection and trust she builds in her classroom, through her thoughtful and caring demeanor. Thank you Mrs. Koke for taking the time to see the best in each and every one of your students!
Culminating their time at Cypress Park, our grade three teacher, Mrs. Espenhain is truly masterful at making learning exciting, relevant, and real. She brings a curiosity and enthusiasm for learning that is truly infectious in the classroom. The only teacher I know who successfully shapes her day with questions, student learning is always at the forefront of what she does. She values student’s opinions and contributions by listening respectfully and incorporating their passions and ideas into her classroom. Not only is she a teacher to our students, but also to our staff was well. As IB coordinator, her guidance and supportive nature encourages teachers to go deeper with their thinking, which ultimately benefits all of our students. Thank you Mrs. Espenhain for being an incredible role model and a truly inspiring teacher!
The work that our Cypress Park teachers do is truly magical. They are the teachers our students will remember when they look back at their experiences in school. In recognition of World Teacher Day, I ask you to please take the time to thank our Cypress Park teachers for making a difference in your child’s life. Help me remind them just how special we think they are!