Do you remember your elementary school teachers? I do. I remember them all and everything they taught me. Well, maybe not EVERYthing, but the big stuff. And maybe not all of their names, but I remember their faces.
My first first grade teacher was Mrs. Odom. She wrote four-line poems on the board every morning for us to copy so we could learn good penmanship. She popped her gum as she wrote and I loved the sound. She read Bible stories to us and taught us to recite the 23rd Psalm. We moved when I was in first grade and my second first grade teacher was Miss Gibson. She was nice, but I missed Mrs. Odom and her gum popping. I remember reading a book aloud in a group and seeing a word that looked very much like a word I knew, breakfast. As I read, I knew that the word breakfast didn’t sound right, especially when the story said a duck hid under the…breakfast? But it was the only long word that started with b that I knew so I kept using it. When I finished reading my part, the teacher had a little smile on her face. “That word is basket, not breakfast.” The story made better sense after I learned that new b word.
My second grade teacher was Mrs. Whitlock. She was a short woman and a good teacher, but she put me in the back of the room. I couldn’t see the board so when she told us to copy stuff off the board, I would tear little pieces of paper and take it up to the trashcan. On the way by the board, I’d memorized all I could and go back to my seat to write it down. I did that over and over until I finished the lesson. One day, the girl sitting next to me got new glasses and we’d trade them back and forth and tell each other what was on the board. In her class, we got special awards for reciting John 3:16 to the class and an extra special award if we recited the 10 Commandments. I remember her most for telling us that President Kennedy had been shot. She was crying and as second graders, we started crying too. She said the whole world would hate Texas and maybe kick us out of the United States. Why did she say that? It scared me a lot! By the way, this is the year when I started wearing glasses.
My third grade teacher was a big woman, as in tall and big boned. Her name was Miss Fish, and she was a gentle person. She introduced us to social studies and more reading. There were no more Bible stories in her room, but I didn’t know why. The big event in her room was during a lightning storm when a bolt of electricity shot out of an outlet at the front of the room and went over our heads and out the window. At least that’s how I remember it. Scared us all, including Miss Fish, to death! She asked if anyone was hurt, then herded us into the corner of the room where she read to us until the storm passed. That year, a boy named Randy Love had a crush on me. He gave me a doll for Christmas and big box of candy for Valentine’s Day. I wonder what happened to him…
I wish I could go back and find those wonderful women who started me on my educational path. They were really special to me and I still remember them. I’d like to tell them thanks for the great start they gave me. I’d want them to know that I owe them a lot.
Next week, I’ll tell you about my other elementary teachers. The best one is yet to come.
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