This time last year, I was recovering from an operation. I missed the photo. While I remember my class fondly, I'm irritated I don't have the picture, and I was saddened not to be part of the staff photo in my first year at a new school.
It sounds ridiculous, but I'm coming to believe that these images are more than just photos. When I look around my classroom, my staffroom or my school, I see more than people. They are becoming family. As much as we discuss our varied work lives with friends, it's only those inside the grounds that really understand. And for many, it's these people that we spend most of our time with!
We support each other, make each other laugh, be social and look after each other's well-being. The loss of one of our own, through whatever means, creates a lasting ripple-effect, thus signalling the strong connection we have as a group of beings, of all ages and all backgrounds. I will confidently say that it's this variety that makes our family so successful.
While I've always known I'm extremely lucky to work where I work, with the people I'm with, and the children and families I have, occurrences in recent history have further highlighted how fortunate I am.
A photo, a school-photo more specifically, is more than that.
It's a memory.
It's a list of faces that you'll recall.
It's a series of stories that will make you smile.
It's a group of people that have had an impact on you.
It's a reminder of those you loved, and some you may have lost, but will never forget.
It's a symbol of unity, strength and team work, moments of hardship and stress, culminating in a year of education or work that adds to the jigsaw of your life; a series of experiences that didn't make sense until the moment you needed them.