November 12 – when you end up teaching with teachers from your high school

111/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I’ve talked about a former student who is now my colleague but the same happened to me when I first started teaching. I went to Burnett as a student and ended up as a teacher there in my third year of teaching.   I found it very awkward and uncomfortable conversing with my former teachers – unsurprisingly, none of them remembered who I was (250 pound geeky guy changed to 175 pound taking care of self guy). I kept calling them Mr or Ms and they kept correcting me to call them by their first name. I would hear their jokes, sexual banter and other things and I would feel embarrassed thinking I should be in the halls – it’s hard to let go of being student around your former teachers. Eventually, I got comfortable enough and actually became friends with some of them. Mr McCracken was a teacher in my high school years. I never had him as a teacher though but I always heard stories about his teaching and that he had a sense of humour lost on many of his students. Now working with him, I was intimidated as he had a huge presence. Scottish (or was he Irish – I get those two confused all the time) accent and senior teacher, I kept my distance but he made efforts to make me comfortable even though him and his friends sat at the more senior teachers’ table. Over the years, I got to know Mr McCracken much better even venturing over to “that table”. He helped me immensely when I was tasked with teaching Law 12. I had the worst Grade 11 high school Socials teacher back in the day and I learned nothing (no names shall be mentioned) so when I had to talk about the Canadian government system, I turned to Mr McCracken to teach me everything over a few lunch hours. We had great discussions about art-house films and the merits of a good whiskey. He was well respected by his students and I wanted to be that type of teacher. He retired about a decade or so ago but I still see him and his now fellow retired teacher friends every once in a while at a local pub as they get together monthly for drinks. Thanks for showing me that regardless of age, one can be friends with anyone especially if you are in the same profession. I double-check my retirement statement in your honour!

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