It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, which has me thinking about all the teachers who molded my little mind, for better or worse over the years. I have a memory of each and every one of them, and most of them taught me more than just vocabulary and long division. Beginning with Mrs. Scott in Kindergarten, who taught me right off the bat I wasn’t going to like everyone in life. I’ll never forget our battle over what color my grandmother’s hair was and that my grandfather’s head was NOT a rectangle. Remember teachers, more often than not THESE are the things kids will remember about you when they sit down and reflect years later.
First grade brought me to Ms. Masters, a young teacher with the most fabulous 80’s hair. She taught me how to outline with a marker then fill in with the matching crayon, which she pronounced “crown”. She was a beautiful genius to 6-year-old me. She taught me to look up to teachers. Second grade, Mrs. Goodwin taught me that teachers were also human, that woman was perpetually exhausted.
In 3rd grade Mrs. Harris introduced me to Ramona Quimby. She was actually the 8th grade teacher who had fond memories of my mother as student, and brought me books to read as I spent most of the 3rd grade in the office because my 3rd grade teacher was driving home the lessons Mrs. Scott had begun in Kindergarten.
In 4th grade I had my first male teacher, Mr. Millet. I hope my daughter’s have a Mr. Millet one day. He encouraged my love of Louis Lamour books while everyone was reading Babysitters Club. Even though none of the other girls wanted to talk about what I was reading I knew Mr. Millet would actually be interested in my daily reading journal. He also gave me my first D, but I don’t hold a grudge. A book report on white-tailed deer that simply says they have white tails is just plain lazy.
Junior High can be some of the hardest years of a kids life and I was fortunate to spend them with a small class at St. Paul’s. There were no clicks, we all wore the same uniform and I was able to become who I was going to be without the influence of 100’s of other students, teachers, trends and pressure. The teachers there were a small group and got to know each of us individually. I’ll always remember Mrs. Donovan’s quiet sweetness, Mrs. Alspaugh seeping “Southern”, Senora Dupes fabulous shoes and feeling like these people truly cared about me.
In High School thanks to Mr. Etheridge I learned that teenagers prey upon the weak and that teaching isn’t for everyone. Mr. Rumple thrilled me with his caution-to-the-wind lack of political correctness. I had an English teacher who taught me that brains and a bosom could coexist.
My greatest teachers off all, however; who taught me everything that really mattered were mom and dad. Thanks, Dad for teaching this fellow lefty how to write her name and tie her shoes. Building blocks of identity and putting one foot in front of the other without tripping through life. And Mom, well I’ll get around to her this Sunday I’m sure.