I was chatting with some teachers the other day about theories of education and in particular about some of the so called education gurus who often have much to say about how children learn best. As I reflected on our chat I realised that although I may not be an education guru, that I have, over the years developed my own theories on how and why children learn. So I decided to turn my ideas into my speech for my student’s graduation dinner which is on this week.
My theory is that the key to a child learning is building, maintaining and nurturing a relationship with that child. A relationship that is built on mutual respect and mutual understanding. You see I think children learn best when they are happy, when they feel safe and when they feel loved and respected.
So I have tried to make sure my classroom is full of laughter not rules, that it is full of high expectations and learning. My students know I am a learner too, that I make mistakes and that I am hopeless at spelling. As a result I have more proud moments from the past two years than I can go into here. I have memories of girls conquering their fears, of trying new things, of girls leaving their comfort zones, of learning new skills and taking risks in their learning. Girls who also realise that learning is a lifetime journey.
So tonight I want to thank you for entrusting your daughters into my care so that I could build a relationship with them. For some of you this was only as part of the Year 5 team with Mrs T and for others as part of the Year 6 team with Mr A and Mrs W. What I sincerely hope though is that whether I have taught her in my class, in my maths group or in the whole year group, that I have done my best to build a relationship with her.
So now girls it is time to move to the Senior School and to build new relationships with teachers and students. You know that I have high expectations of you. You know I expect you to try your hardest and I want you to always remember that. School success will come easier to some of you than others but if you always put in 100% effort then you can hold your head up high, knowing you have done your best and no one can ask more of you than that.
Go out into the Senior School and build new relationships, learn and laugh together and remember Mrs Miller will be watching and you from afar, secure in the knowledge that she did her bit to set you on your path of learning.