Monday, June 23, 2014

Vicki Woods and the Little Things

The final week of the regular school year is thundering to a close, with huge events every day of the week. On Tuesday, we are holding an assembly to honour our school's French teacher, who after 37 years of service, is retiring.

Mme Woods at last week's Grade 8 graduation ceremony

Vicki Woods, otherwise known as just "Madame" to many of our students, is a great teacher. She had the skills that she could have just coasted through her last years on the payroll, but she didn't. Last year, she obtained an interactive white board for her classroom and spent a lot of time learning how to use it well to help teach language acquisition. As a specialist teacher, she has had to teach many subjects in addition to her main focus of FSL, and she devoted just as much energy to the assorted dance, drama, and music class as she did to her regular core French program. She will be missed.

Mme is fit! At the Jump Rope for Heart kickoff

What I think I will miss most about Vicki is "the little things"; all the tasks that she did on top of her teaching assignment that the staff will notice when she's gone. For instance, we have a rotating kitchen duty schedule for the teachers, and when certain forgetful individuals were in charge (*cough cough ME cough cough*), Vicki would always cover the slack by wiping the tables and emptying the dishwasher, all without complaint. To make the staff washroom more eco-friendly, she would hang towels and launder them weekly. For our LEWIS lunches (Lunch Every Wednesday Is Salad), she would organize the buffet chart, so we knew what we had to bring that week. Vicki ran the monthly assemblies, the Terry Fox Run, and the Christmas singalongs. She was a part of the social committee and Track and Field Committee and used to organize the annual ski and snowboarding trips as well as the intermediate division excursion to Ottawa. Vicki collected all the evidence for our Eco-Audits and her efforts resulted in Gold certification. It was her student clubs that emptied recycling bins and it was her car that took the staff room organics bags home (frozen to minimize the stench), long before organics collection was even considered as an option at school.

No one can be obligated to replicate Vicki and all her extra jobs. We have hired a new French teacher, but it will take the entire staff to realize all the "little things" she did and either volunteer to take up the mantle, or let them fall to the wayside. Hopefully, her legacy will be that teachers will continue to do the "little things" that make school a special place.

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