Cindi Wheatley sat behind her desk at the front of the room, waiting for her students to settle back into their chairs after the morning tea break. She had a mug of tea beside her, from the ‘World’s Best Teacher!’ collection in the staff room. She took a sip then cleared her throat, and the wriggling and scraping of chairs eased.
‘All right, are we all ready for the next round of presentations on the people who inspire us?’
The children in the front row were looking relaxed as they’d had their turn before recess, and she could see a couple of pens scribbling busily in the other rows. There’d already been an assortment of sports stars, musicians, and celebrities offered as inspiration, including a couple that she hadn’t heard of. It was getting harder to keep up with social media stars, and Cindi smiled to herself, thinking back to when world leaders and rock stars featured in these kinds of exercises.
‘Benni, let’s start with you.’ Cindi smiled and nodded towards the boy. He was staring out the window, and a classmate bumped his arm to get his attention. Benni stood up and headed towards the whiteboard and wrote the name of the person who inspired him. Cindi’s eyebrows rose as she saw the name take shape. Mr Meadows.
Benni put the marker down and turned to face the class. Some children were nudging and whispering to each other. Benni glanced out the window once more, and began to talk.
‘The person who inspires me is Mr Meadows.’
‘The cleaner?’ Shannon, always the first to offer an opinion, asked with a snigger.
‘This is Benni’s talk, Shannon. Let’s show him the same respect that he showed you during your presentation. Go on, Benni.’ She nodded towards the boy.
Benni swallowed and began again. ‘Mr Meadows inspires me because he always has the answer to any question that I have. He’s faster than Google, and he tells better stories.’
There were a few smiles and nods around the room. Benni straightened up and continued on with his report. ‘Mr Meadows knows how to fix anything. He can speak many languages, and remembers all of our names.’
Benni paused and looked down at his feet, then back up at his classmates. ‘Mr Meadows never loses his temper or gets angry if you make a mess. He says that accidents happen, and he’s never mean or grumpy. Mr Meadows inspires me to do the best that I can, and to treat people how I’d like to be treated. He says that there is good in everyone. Thank you.’ Benni nodded at Cindi and reached for the whiteboard eraser, cleaning the board for the next student.
He returned to his desk, and there was a smattering of applause.
‘Thank you, Benni, for reminding us that inspiration can come from people that we know, as well as more famous people or celebrities. It can come from anywhere.’
I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find out more about the challenge, join in and read other posts here.
Photo: signage in a local cafe