Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A salute to teachers

I woke up this morning remembering my teachers.

Specifically, my first waking thoughts were about my kindergarten teacher. I have just one memory of kindergarten but it is still vivid lo these many years later. When the class got ready to paint, we all donned smocks that had to be buttoned in the back. (Remember, this was in a time before Velcro, and apparently it was a time before anyone thought much about basic practicality.) The drill was to to slip into your smock and run around looking for someone to do the buttons for you, which led to brief periods of intense chaos in our classroom until all those smocks were properly fastened.

One day I suggested that we all put on our smocks, get in a line, and button the smock of the person in front of us, and my teacher said, "That's a wonderful idea! Everybody, let's try it."

What this story reveals to me today is not my brilliance (which is what I thought it was about at the time), or my rigidity and anxiety in the face of disorder (which is what I feared it was about later). I think this story really speaks volumes about my teacher. Obviously the reason I remember it so clearly still is because it was such a strong experience of affirmation for me, and I feel fortunate indeed to have had a teacher who responded that way.

I feel fortunate, in fact, to have had the teachers I did all the way from kindergarten through high school. I mean, sure, I could dredge up a few tales of bad teaching moments that would make everyone laugh and then sputter about the horrors of parochial school, but on the whole those were quite the exception. I was blessed to have been taught by many wonderful women (true--I was never taught by a man until college) who had a lot to do with the person I am today.

So, a salute to teachers everywhere at the start of this new school year!


At 9:58 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks for the salute! I have many fond memories of my teachers as well. I suppose that's one reason I became a teacher myself. BTW that WAS a brilliant idea!


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