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Making Contact

What drew me to education? I believed, and still do, I make a difference in the lives of young people entrusted to me for a year or more by their parents. It is a covenant. Yesterday, someone noticed a sticker on the classroom door. Someone had written: “Mr. P. is a good Math teacher.” A student asked if I was a good Math teacher and I responded, “No, I teach students, not subjects.” Virginia Satir described the contact teachers encourage children’s lives. We must never lose this aspect of relationship with other people, particularly children. The reciprocal nature of being  is critical to humanity and humanness. The whole person emerges in the safety of these relationships.

I believe

The greatest gift

I can conceive of having from anyone


to be seen by them,

heard by them,

to be understood

and touched by them.

The greatest gift

I can give

is to see, hear, understand

and to touch

another person.

When this is done

I feel

contact has been made.

About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

27 responses »

  1. I agree. Seeing that you’re making a difference in someone’s life is the one thing that keeps me going through all the other nonsense and garbage that comes with teaching sometimes.

    • David, knowing what we do in life has meaning gives it worth. I stopped worrying about external affirmations some time ago. It comes to me through the contacts that I make after students and families moved on.

  2. This must be echoing within every reader who teaches – it sure does for me. Ours is an amazing profession…

  3. what a noble profession and you seem to be highly honored. thank you for being a wonderful educator!! MY GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!

  4. Yes, I agree. I feel like that about teaching my junior choristers to sing.

  5. I wish all teachers had these insights! I still remember my math teacher from high school, she definitely taught a subject – so I became friends with math & statistics only much later in life. Great post!

  6. Beautiful and wise and eloquent….Thank you

  7. I like you approach at putting the human being at the centre of the equation.

  8. That is so beautiful! You really are making a difference in those children’s lives and they on yours. A truly passionate teacher!

  9. I love Satir. Studied her in college. Wish more teachers of young people were like you, though my kids were so lucky to grow up with a great grammar/middle school combo with dedicated teachers such as yourself.

  10. I enjoy reading your blog, though on a lot of topics, I have a very different view. I taught for many years, and had many students I cared for… some of them I truly loved. But I never taught the student… just the subject.

    • Shimon, as I read your comment, I thought we probably are very much alike and are only expressing ourselves in different ways. You strike me as such a compassionate person that your students were blessed to have you at their side.

  11. Beautiful and oh so true. “The whole person emerges in the safety of these relationships.” Wonderful!


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