I transferred schools partway through my first grade school year. I hardly remember Ms. Marsack, but she seemed nice enough. At my new school, my first grade teacher was rumored to be scary and mean. I don't remember being afraid of her, though. I do remember tattling on J.J. for cheating on a spelling test. That's about all I remember from first grade; well, that and James walking in on me in the classroom lavatory!
In second grade, I had Mrs. Beaver. Students said she locked kids in her cabinet when they were bad. It never happened in my class. I remember going to her house for a barbecue after visiting the Detroit Zoo. And I remember her yelling at my cousin, Marcel, for having horrible handwriting. I defended him, explaining that left handed people always have bad handwriting!
Third grade was great. I had Ms. Roseik, and she was a lot of fun. We made our own cereal and recorded our commercials. Third grade was also the year my teacher read The BFG to us, which became one of my favorite books, and I read it to my class every year. I don't remember any specific things from third grade besides what I've mentioned, but I do remember feeling secure and affirmed in Ms. Roseik's class. It was always one of my goals to be liked by the teacher. I thrived on affirmation even then.
I switched schools partway through 4th grade also. This was a good thing because we had Mrs. Katz, and she scared me! I hated having to listen to the weather everyday, writing down the temperature and the barometric pressure, and all kinds of other things 4th graders don't care about! She had two guinea pigs that were kind of ugly, too. Most of all, I remember her dumping out Jimmy's desk because it was a mess, and then throwing his Bible to the floor, telling him there was no need for him to bring it to school.
My new teacher for 4th grade was amazing. She was the greatest teacher I ever had, and she is the reason for this post. Ms. Good was both my 4th and 6th grade teacher. I don't even know where to begin with telling how great she was. I remember we were always writing and being creative in 4th grade. She taught us to look up to remember things, and which way to look for spelling or math. She taught us to spell words backward, a teaching technique I use with my students today.
She had us do crazy things like sit on our desks and imagine we were balloons flying over the sky. She called it meditation. She was constantly praising my writing and poetry, and I adored every word she spoke. She was a bit disorganized at times, sometimes leaving projects unfinished, but I never seemed to care. I remember she started reading a book called K.L.U.T.Z. to us, but we never finished it. I think she probably got bored of the book. I feel that way about the book I'm reading to my class right now!
In 6th grade, Ms. Good gathered some of the top students for a club called F.P.S - Future Problem Solvers. This organization would send us a story, and from the story we'd have to write 20 paragraphs (as a group) explaining 20 problems that would/could arise in the story. Then, we'd have to write 20 solutions for the problems. We even took a weekend trip to the University of Michigan for a competition with the club. That was a very cool experience.
We also created our countries with our own laws, flags, maps, etc. This ended up being one of her ideas that we never finished. Once again, it was the constant affirmation that made me feel accepted, appreciated, and smart. I wasn't the cleanest kid. I wasn't the cutest kid. I certainly wasn't the smartest kid, but she had a way of making me feel special. I never felt unliked by her. She was an amazing person.
After I finished college, I went back to visit her. We sat down in her (now middle school) classroom, talking about our lives. She still remembered how I enjoyed writing poetry, how I'd won a writing contest in junior high (even though she wasn't in the school---she knew!), and she told me how proud she was of me.
Ms. Good was a major influence on my life. She had a big role in my becoming the person I am today as a teacher.
Who's your favorite teacher? Why?