Last week I visited my old elementary school, Eno Valley Elementary. I had fantasized about going to the office and asking for contact information for my favorite teachers. I wanted to have one of those teacher appreciation story moments. I was thinking especially of these women:
-Mrs. May, second grade, who taught me how to analyze literature when we read “Brighty of the Grand Canyon.” In an effort to imitate the cool girls’ handwriting, I purposefully let mine become cutesy, with circles over my lowercase I’s. She put a stop to that, and sat down with me one day to fix my handwriting. I am amazed at the time she took, because I was at the top end of the class, and it would have been so easy to ignore me and my needs. But she did not; She challenged me and expected great things from me. I credit my innate aversion to “your” instead of “you’re” and “it’s” instead of “its” to Mrs. May. And, more importantly, I credit my initial interest in writing to her as well.
-Mrs. Rogers, third grade, who was a sweet lady and listened to me tell her all about the Book of Mormon. I even brought her a copy of it. She was so kind to let me tell her about my growing testimony and allow this little Mormon girl to feel like a missionary. I have no idea whether or not she read it, but it was a successful experience for me, because it made me feel good about sharing the gospel. That was a gift.
-And, of course, Mrs. Bullock, my fourth grade teacher. It was a combined third-fourth grade gifted class, and she did what I believe the best teachers do: created a community from the class. We read journals aloud to each other, the fourth graders had third grade buddies to help with their cursive letters and times tables, we worked on group projects, and at the end of the year I felt so at home there, like I had twenty-five friends.
But the secretary at Eno Valley Elementary couldn’t give out personal information, so all my fantasies about writing thank you letters evaporated. I got all emotional on that poor secretary. “They were really good teachers,” I sniffled. She handed me a tissue and I left.
They were really good teachers. And I have plenty more from later years of school, and my kids have been blessed with wonderful teachers as well. But this week my heart turned to the teachers who helped me love school when I was small and eager. In this season of gratitude, I am so thankful for them.
Tell me about your favorite teachers. Have you ever contacted a teacher from a long time ago?