When I was a little girl, I loved elementary school. I loved my friends and being in a classroom. I loved my own desk. While mine was not nearly as neat and tidy as the other girls, I did keep the pencil tray completely clean. When the teacher was not looking, I, along with some of the other girls, would run a squirt of Elmer’s School Glue down the little groove where you were suppose to keep your pencil. We would be careful not to bump it or touch it with anything. Then come tomorrow, and we would peel out the set glue and make fake “fingernails” to trim and “press-on” to wear. It makes me giggle thinking of it today. We were so creative and cleaver. We thought the teacher didn’t know.
While on vacation, we had the privilege of visiting our niece’s Fourth grade class room. She teaches at a private school in Barton, Vermont. It was a wonderful treat to see her in her element. Those elementary school kids adore her. She is not the old-fashioned, dull, sensible shoes wearing, fourth grade teacher we all had. She is slight, and pretty and has gorgeous blond hair. She wears silly pins and necklaces. She has pretty clothes and fancy shoes. Her appearance is important to her and you just know those girls are watching her every fashion move. She piles her golden locks up on her head with fancy ties and the day we were there, she used curly que Christmas ribbons. She does not command authority. Somehow, when you watch her, the children hang on every word she says. They respect her. Weather it was looking closely at “Twilight” their classroom hamster or while she gave instructions about the next project, you could hear it in those children’s voices, see it in their eyes. She is their teacher and they admire her and wait for her to lead them. She is marching forward with intelligence and a positive attitude and those students are following right behind her.
While standing in the back of the classroom, after looking at all the wonderful and inspiring decorations and brightly colored walls, I began to notice a couple of the young ladies fussing near their desks. I could smell a sweet scent. Just so happens, I was sneaking a peek at sweet and silly fourth grade girls mixing “flavors” of antibacterial hand wash. They each had their own personal sized bottle….Vanilla with apple, sour something with lemon and so the sneaking and mixing went on. They kept an eye on their teacher to make sure she didn’t see them. You could see the smile in their eyes.
We were so lucky to be able to see our niece as a teacher. Those children and the school are lucky to have her and the support her parents give unconditionally to the students and staff. While walking through the halls, you are instantly transported back to the days when you were tripping on your own shoelaces and trying to cram things into the lockers. One student told us, “Miss Wilson, had to put air fresheners in each of our lockers.” Gee, could it be the damp wet coats and boots and more that fourth graders have with them?
We are all worried about the state of our educational system in America. As we should be. However, I just wanted to share, that in a little remote corner of New England, Miss Wilson’s Fourth Grade class is alert, attentive and eager to learn from their teacher. There is respect in the air. There is pride in the uniforms they wear. It made me happy to watch, listen and learn. It gave me a sense of hope. Hope in the future of our educational system and the students.
My wish is that every fourth grader across the land has the privilege of having a teacher a remarkable as Miss Wilson. I hope every student across America has to write a thank you letter to a Veteran and address an envelope. I hope they each have to listen with both ears because their teacher never shouts at them. She is the kind of teacher, whom the children will remember. ….oh, my fourth grade teacher was tough, smart, fair, honest, kind and considerate. Oh, and every single day, she wore a little cat pin or jewelry or sweater of some sort with a cat on it.
What those students don’t know………………………. when Miss Wilson earned her teaching certificate, she was also given a special set of eyes. She wears them in the back of her head. When she came home after teaching that day, she said yes, she could see and smell the girls mixing the antibacterial hand wash.
My heart did a happy dance when I saw her name outside of her class room, Miss Wilson.
Yes, she is one of the “good” teachers. I just bet she is the kind of teacher that would not have scolded me for making “press on nails” out of Elmer’s Glue.
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein