Staying active has been a big part of Marilyn Hodgson’s teaching career.
From the speedwalking races she held in the hallways, to her determination to get students involved in school sports, the energetic “Mrs. H.” will be remembered for keeping things interesting for her students.
Retiring after 35 years with an elementary level Great Teachers award and plenty of kudos from students, parents and fellow staff at ´Kelset elementary in North Saanich, Hodgson, 57, has kept in touch with many students.
“I think about the kids and the stories and the energy I get from them,” she says. “If you are in it for the right reasons, you can handle the negative stuff and remember why you’re in it. They believe that you believe in them.”
The testament to the impact she’s had is when former students come back to visit. “The cards and thanks from kids who say, ‘you made me want to get into sports’ – I’m really pro athletics – is just so fantastic. That’s what I want to look back on.”
She recalls eight words an early teacher wrote on her report card: “Marilyn, have confidence in yourself, be a leader.” She embraced that mantra in high school by getting involved in activities and has always encouraged her students to do the same. She leads by example, by volunteer coaching and helping with other in-school programs.
Since 1980, she’s had stops in the Lower Mainland, northern B.C., and the Saanich Peninsula. She’s enjoyed it all, from the connections and friendships made to working with students who needed more attention.
“Every year you’re hoping to have made a positive impact on the lives on those kids,” she says. “That’s huge, knowing you’ve made that positive connection and that you’ve had an impact.”
What former teacher was your inspiration? – “My dad first, he was a business and marketing teacher at Kitsilano High. My Grade 5 teacher, Mrs. DeFavourie, had a structured approach and was really lovely with her kids; and in Grade 7, Mr. Jamieson, who became a faculty advisor for the district.”