I didn’t go in to teaching because I loved teaching or because I had wanted to be a teacher all my life but what I did want was to help people. As I embarked on my training I wondered what I was doing. I was teaching children to become anything they wanted, so they could fulfil their dreams; the world would be their oyster and I would have helped them on their journey but yet what would become of me or more to the point, what would I become?! What would I amount to? The world was not to be my oyster, I was just a teacher. Or so I thought. Little did I realise that I was being entrusted with the most precious job in the world. One where not only would I learn how to teach but where I would learn about myself along the way. I would be lucky enough to have an impact on children’s lives at their most defining moments. I was being entrusted with their souls, their very beings and it wasn’t just about education, it would become apparent that I was shaping their beings from the inside out. I was at the forefront. I would nurture, love, inspire, motivate, mould, change opinions, value opinions, support, change behaviours, listen, resolve, play, diffuse and guide. I was shaping the future and in my naivety I believed my profession was worthless. How could I have been so wrong? Every day I meet someone who changes my view of the world. Not only am I teaching them but they are teaching me. They make me smile, laugh and above all believe that anything is possible. And now you can have that honour. I want to share my experiences with you so that you can teach them too. Hell, you should teach them too! You; their caregiver, their educator, the person they look up to-you are their teacher. You too can share these most precious moments and believe me you won’t regret it. I am reminded of a beautiful lesson I was taught on a Parenting course many years ago. The image of an open bag that has stayed with me. Every child comes with an open bag, an empty vessel ready to be filled. It is our job to fill that bag, to impart knowledge and teach life lessons. In essence ‘to put lessons in the bag’. And should these lessons just be life lessons? I don’t think so. I think they should be teachable moments that include educational lessons. We sleep train, wean and toilet train, we didn’t know how but we’ve learnt on the job. We had to. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to teach our children to read, to write, to understand. To break down the walls they build when the going gets tough, to be able to explain so they understand; to help them to learn and grow. I think so! I think that’s the greatest job in the world. And so today I say to you let’s walk side by side, hand in hand. Let’s help and support each other because together we can grow young minds.