Teachers

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I was thinking yesterday about getting my kids something as a rememberance, since we've had 2 years together. I wanted to get them bookmarks that fit their personalities, or books, or something along those lines. Kinda expensive, though, so I'm open to ideas.

I wonder how my kids will remember me. I was thinking about my own teachers, and what I took from each of them.

Mrs. Anz was my kindergarten teacher. I remember coloring with fat crayons that were flat on one side, singing "The Colors of the Rainbow," looking out the windows that lined one wall, and Heidi throwing up in the sink by the door.

Every day.

Mrs. Anz died just recently.

Miss Nelson was my first grade teacher. She was young and pretty and wore her hair in a bouffant and liked sleeveless dresses. I remember sitting in rows, learning handwriting and standing in the corner for talking to a boy. Yes, even then.

Mrs. Gilbreath was my second grade teacher. I don't remember much because we left for about 6 weeks to live in California with my grandparents while my dad went to computer school. These days, I'd be repeating second grade.

Mrs. Dubois was my third grade teacher. I missed ONE spelling word that year - I wrote "then" instead of "than." We made clay mosaics and fired them in a kiln. We had a student teacher, who did a unit on Hawaii and we had a luau, complete with sugar cane. Which the teachers couldn't cut. So they squeezed sugar juice into our hands!

Miss Gerard was my 4th grade teacher. She was so beautiful, with long auburn curls, and she was the first teacher I had who wore slacks. She knew I loved Little House on the Prairie, so we did a unit on it. I remember covering the walls of the closet with a mural of the books.

Miss Moen was one of my FAVORITE all time teachers. She wore leisure suits every day, no make-up, but she had animals in the classroom. One corner of the room was a stage, and she had hooded rats named Laverne and Shirley (their colors matched!), birds, hamsters, etc. I remember looking for my assignment every week on her chart, which she organized with clothespins with our names on them. I remember the counselor gave puppet shows on the stage, with really cool puppets, and I remember all the 5th grade teachers getting together and having the students as teacher for a day. We would choose one skill we knew, and we were assigned to teach it on a certain day. Several of us were teaching at one time, so the other kids would sign up for who they wanted to learn from. I taught sign language. It was a really valuable lesson.

Miss Moen retired a couple of years ago. I know, because when I was trying to get out of the School from Hell, I applied at that school and she was still there.

I would be remiss not to mention our librarian, whose name I don't remember, sadly. But every week in summer, she would open the library one morning. And you know every week I was there, sometimes to check out old favorites, sometimes to check out something new. But it was so cool walking into the cool library, in the center of the school, and the place was so quiet. I can even smell the ink she'd use to stamp the books. I would come home and devour those books.

I'm not going to list my middle school teachers - that was a rough time. I was back at the Catholic school, against my will, where I'd gone to kindergarten and my parents were divorcing.

But I have to name three of my favorite high school teachers.

The first is Miss Stephens. She was a hippie chick with long red hair and an easy going attitude. She was instrumental in forming the Creative Writing Club, where I was a founding member. The club still exists today. She used that interest to form a creative writing class, and I learned a lot from her. She probably learned a lot more about me!

Mr. Ruth was the government teacher. He was an older man who wore plaid pants. I remember because we HATED plaid pants, the Sign of the Prep. But he was such a nice easygoing man, and he adored us. He always had a smile, which I imagine was a trick teaching seniors.

But my favorite all time teacher was Doris Pollock. If she EVER googles her name, I hope she finds me and gets in touch. I want her to know I'm writing. I had Mrs. Pollock 2 years, sophomore and senior. She was always available in the morning to chat, and when I told her I had a crush on someone, she put us in pairs, me with my crush. She was cheery and a bit flighty, but such a joy.

I do remember her breaking up a public display of affection (ahem) and being shocked it was me.

And I remember my friend Cora, a huge Adam and the Ants fan, taking a look at her vocabulary list and seeing the word "adamant" and saying, "Mrs. Pollock! Look! ADAM ANT!"

Good teachers make all the difference. My son had one this year and one last year that he loved enough to consider being a teacher himself.

I hope my kids take away some part of me with them.

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3 comments:

Gina Black said...

Oh, Mary. That was lovely. I wish I remembered my teachers half as well. Of course, I do remember the ones who made a difference in my life--and the ones who tortured me. ;)

My guess is that you've already given your students a HUGE gift this year because I'm sure you're a wonderful teacher. But it is nice, sometimes, to have a keepsake.

One of the teachers who made a huge difference in my life was my 5th grade teacher. I actually blogged about her on the Title Wave blog. Last Christmas she had a boutique at her house where she sold scarves and shawls and various things that she knitted and I spent a fortune on a scarf just because I wanted to have it for days when I needed to wear a hug. I still have lots of things from that class--my report cards, my reports, and other bits of things. I had a project of a very large Cheshire cat wall hanging for years that I can't find anymore.

I'm rambling. Must have tea.

mary beth said...

Great post Mary. I'm sure you've touched your students in the same way these teachers touched you!

MaryF said...

Thanks, Gina and Mary Beth. Gina, how cool that you're still in touch with your 5th grade teacher! I wish I had done.

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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