Although we were in a different profession, when I first read this, I immediately thought of my mentor and dearest friend, Bettie Eileen Tucker...
Dedicated to Bettie (With Permission)
Well established at the school,
a language teacher of much experience,
showing the way to a younger one
with new ideas
but just three years under her belt.
A gentle manner guiding the younger
and an open mind willingly receiving
fresh opinions and novel suggestions.
A partnership of equals develops
in a department of two,
work they evenly distribute and share
and discussions of trials and tribulations,
professional and personal,
big and small,
they handle with understanding and care,
each secure and certain
no one will ever betray
the confidences given in secret
hour by hour and day by day.
Full-time teaching combined with family,
children in difficult teenage years,
finding time to cope with both - how?
Working till two or three each night,
strength and stamina prodigious,
discipline of self enormous.
Heads and syllabuses come and go,
but she remains,
faithful, quiet and diligent,
reliable and efficient.
Twelve years long an ideal workmate,
but with children grown
retirement comes -
off to calmer days?
with grandchildren increasing
and coaching demands
incessant and unceasing.
The professional ties change,
yet the bonds remain strong,
for the trusty colleague that once was
is now a friend, loyal and staunch indeed,
ever ready to laugh and smile in times of joy
and advise and help in hours of need.
The younger one hopes that she, too,
can grow to be equally caring and kind,
for she knows now the way to tread
and she'll keep going straight ahead,
aiming to pave new colleagues' paths
with the gentle understanding
her friend so generously gave to her.
Copyright Helena Harper
Family and More