27 July 2006

Teachers, Part One

I went to a private grade school. I had quite a few good teachers and a few that weren't. My seventh and eighth grade math and science teachers were memorable because they helped me to understand and do fairly well in subjects in which I was not all that interested. I had to have extra help/ remediation for math in 5-7th grades, but by the end of 7th, I was eligible to take Algebra as an 8th grader.

My 7th and 8th grade English teacher was memorable because he was demanding of us. We wrote a lot, and since it was Catholic school, continued to review and refine our grammar. He also did something that my mother thought was completely ridiculous: he read out loud to us every Friday for the final 45 minutes of the day. My mother thought we were too old to be read to; now of course, all the research proves what Mr. Fitz knew all those years ago: that students who hear good readers reading, become better themselves.

What did I learn from my grade school teachers?

To have a sense of humor like my science teacher did when we walked around with dissected frog heads singing, "Put your head on my shoulder..." I think about her when I realize that sometimes, kids just have to have a paper fight, throw pencils in the ceiling, or draw on the chalkboard.
I learned to be patient like my math teacher was with me when I struggled with word problems. Really, who cares what time those two trains will intersect anyway? I think about those days when I have to explain, for what feels like the upteenth time, how the subject of the sentence does (or is) the verb.
I learned that sometimes, even 13 year olds need someone to read to them. I realize this every time I read a short story or a picture book and the kids can't wait to sit on the floor in front of me (or on their desks) and are hanging on my every inflection and gesture.

Thank you Mrs. L, Mr. Fitz, and Mrs. H. I really appreciated being in your classes.

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