One of the loveliest things about being a teacher is the connection that you make. Concurrent to being a civil marriage celebrant, I was a teacher of languages other than English for 35 years. Sometimes decades later you might bump into students with whom you reconnect, perform their wedding, and become friends. Or a student will call you out of the blue to say they have been teaching languages themselves for years, and that you were the inspiration.
My last wedding was one such wedding: initially an email, “Do you remember me?”. In this case how could I forget – I see her name whenever I read the Sydney Morning Herald and shared the pride of all of us at MLC when she won Young Journalist of the Year 2018.
I had known Lucy since she was 13 years old! And she knew me well. It occurred to me that your students see a side of you that you don’t necessarily show anyone else. The classroom is really your private domain and you can be as corny and crazy and cranky as you like, and the students will always forgive you. Provided you win them over first by entertaining them and nurturing their attention. They are your captive audience, and they see you down, they see you elated, they see you worried … and they above all they admire your honesty.
While I hope I taught them to love languages, I am sure I taught them as much about fashion and relationships as I did French, for example. Some classes even kept my secrets.
So as a performer of sorts it was easy for me to transfer my presentation skills to being a marriage celebrant. At Lucy’s wedding I met up again with a group of my “gels”, felt the love and that I had had, and have now, the best job in the world.