March 6, 2008

What Do You Remember About Your Teachers?

Kindergarten, Mrs. Nogel

She had pretty shoulder-length hair that she tucked behind her ears. Her classroom had different stations where we could play. There was a kitchen, blocks, painting, and we sat in a circle and chose which one we wanted each day. This was the first time I remember noticing that boys' and girls' playthings were different. I so wanted to play with blocks, but the boys were always there. I didn't love the kitchen. Cooking with plastic food? Why? The only thing good about cooking is the eating part. I do remember the painting station, a nice safe genderless activity. Mrs. Nogel also told me that grapes were not blue and I had blue grapes growing in my yard. So, she was sweet, but my suspicions about the establishment were there established.

1st grade, Mrs. Gaunt

A sort of flat, unemotional older lady (as a 6 year old, I thought she was 86, she was probably 43) whose impression on me I can only describe with a color: gray. On the first day, I got stung by a bee on my earlobe at my seat and raised my hand all morning. She never called on me. On the way home for lunch, my mother noticed my red earlobe a block away. Mrs. Gaunt also broke the news to us that we'd be counting to 100, a daunting idea to me. One day a boy walked in late and kissed me on the cheek as he was going to hang up his sweater. I hated that. Mrs. Gaunt said nothing.

2nd grade, Mrs. Hutton

Two memories of Mrs. Hutton. She never took us out to play and her upper arm jiggled when she pointed. Though she wasn't obese or anything, I think it was the first time I ever considered the idea of fat.

3rd grade, Miss Zoss

Miss Zoss really was as old as the hills. Miss Zoss was shocked one day when she saw how few of my independent reading cards I had completed during the quarter. Miss Zoss had a collection of shoes under her desk and she changed them all day long. THAT to a third grader was a mystery, an unfathomable mystery. My friend once had a dream that we were all out on the playground when it starting pouring and the class ran underneath Miss Zoss's breasts to stay dry.

Elementary music, Mrs. Wasson

Mrs. Wasson was a very sweet lady with a southern accent who reminded me of - and I don't mean this at all disrespectfully - a cow. She had gigantic flip books on stands that she'd drag into our classroom and teach us TA TA TEE-TEE TA, for some reason unknown to us at the time. She also had an autoharp and if you were lucky, she'd pick you to strum it that day. One day she caught me jotting down the lyrics to an Indian song from our textbook and she yelled at me. This reaction was also a mystery to me, because I wanted to be able to take them home and learn them and sing them. Lucky for me, the internet was invented. Neener neener, Mrs. Wasson:

Land of the Silver Birch


Land of the silver birch,
Home of the beaver
Where still the mighty moose
Wanders at will

Blue lake and rocky shore,
I will return once more
Boom, diddi, boom, boom
Boom, diddi, boom, boom
Boo ooo oo oom

My heart is sick for you,
Here in the lowlands,
I will return to you,
Hills of the north

Blue lake and rocky shore,
I will return once more
Boom, diddi, boom, boom
Boom, diddi, boom, boom
Boo ooo oo oom

Swift as the silver fish,
Canoe of birch bark
Thy might waterways
Carry me forth

Blue lake and rocky shore,
I will return once more
Boom, diddi, boom, boom
Boom, diddi, boom, boom
Boo ooo oo oom

There where the blue lake lies,
I'll set my wigwam
Close to the water's edge,
Silent and still

Blue lake and rocky shore,
I will return once more
Boom, diddi, boom, boom
Boom, diddi, boom, boom
Boo ooo oo oom

4th grade, Mrs. Rhynard

I have almost no memories of this teacher or school year. But I do remember standing at the doorway in a line, preparing to go wherever we had to go and she'd teach us songs while we waited for whatever we were waiting for. Grand Ole Flag, was one. I thought the words were, You're a grand old flag, you're a hot-flying rag. I also remember something about a chicken and pouring hot water up and down its leg.

5th grade, Mrs. Hoffman
Mrs. Hoffman was an upbeat, sensible woman who ran a smooth class. I was happy in fifth grade. One day Danny L. was acting up (and it wasn't the first time) and she grabbed him by the shirt and jerked him up against the wall and showed him who was boss. I liked her.

6th grade, Miss Dunn
I had Miss Dunn for math in 6th. It was well known that she was often horribly mistreated by students about the way she looked. I felt terribly sorry for Miss Dunn. She seemed like a nice lady who just wanted to do her job, but on some days she was reduced to tears by cruel kids. It was a rather unbelievable classroom situation to be in as a child.

7th grade, Mr. Holloway I remember many things about Mr. Holloway. He taught us well, but you know how it's sometimes the weird things that stay implanted? I remember him telling me not to completely cover a mistake, on an essay for example, with a big scribbled block of ink. He said that it would be better if I just put a thin line through it. He was a good teacher. I also remembering him talking about childcare and not to allow an infant to constantly lay in the same position or he'll get a flat head.

8th grade, Mrs. Priggemeyer Where was I in 8th grade? I can hardly remember a teacher, but I do remember Mrs. Priggemeyer yelling, "JENNIFER!" one day when I was turned around talking to my friend.



I taught for a short while. I try not to wonder what memories my 4th graders have of me.

1 comment:

rosemary said...

Good job...I remember every single one of my grade school teachers too...of course I had a little advantage..

Sister Mary Kathleen, Louise, Columbus, Anthony, Thaddeus, Leonis, Gertrudas and then there was Miss Jeneatte