Monday, August 31, 2009

School Days

Annie's Home posted her answers to a meme...."6 things you loved or hated about school.” I had never thought about this topic before, and it inspired me. (Thanks, Annie!)

There is a lot that I loved about school...

***I loved school lunch. I love that that I have no memory of feeling ashamed that my lunches were free.

***I love that my memory of sitting in the corner in kindergarten is not one filled with shame, but with respect for my teacher. (I deserved it; talking too much. Shocking--I know.)

***I loved the rules of school; they were predictable and (for me) easy to follow. We had rules at home, too, certainly, but the consequences for breaking them were unpredictable and excessive at times. I also loved the rules of the English language. The predictability of these rules gave me comfort.

***I love that I got a D in Geometry in tenth grade; it keeps me humble and helps me remember that even good kids who work hard sometimes "just don't get it."

***I love the memory of the first moment I realized that teachers are human beings--my shock at seeing Miss Rushford come out of the bathroom stall is obviously still with me today. (So funny.)

***I loved being in a place in which people and events were mostly predictability. Drama in school paled in comparison to the drama at home; I felt safe in school.

***In 6th grade, I learned that I was lovable and appreciated for who I was. I learned that I could sing, write and, well....accomplish just about anything I wanted to in life. My teacher's eyes lit up when she looked at me. I knew I brought her joy, simply by being me. Her smile told me that I was someone special. (I'm pretty sure that anyone who had her felt the same way.) Thank you (again), Miss Johnson. Rest in peace.

***I love that teachers could hug kids back in the day, and even hold them. Miss Cayemberg profoundly impacted my life by showing me such compassion. I had no idea why she was taking me out to lunch that time or that it would probably have been frowned upon by her boss. All I know is that I loved it, and I needed that TLC.

***Odd as it sounds, I love that I did not know my value when I was in high school; it helped me, socially. I knew my place (the middle) in the social scheme of high school, so I didn't ruffle and feathes. I wasn't popular, but that was okay with me. I felt beneath the popular kids, but I truly did not resent them for it, because my self esteem kept me from thinking I deserved more status. It helped me stay off the radar, for the most part. Being popular is a lot of work in high school. It was much easier to just have a few close friends, yet still have a good time.

***I love that Mr. Halbrook expected great things from me in American History and beyond. Mr. H demonstrated a sincere interest in my future and expected that I would go to college. At the time, it made me curious; I didn't understand why a man would notice my intellect. In fact, as I write this, it occurs to me that Mr. H was the first man I remember who saw me as an intelligent young woman and communicated that to me, if not explicitly. Eventually, I would reap what he sowed in those seeds of confidence.

I can honestly say there is nothing that I "hated" about school. I loved school, even though I connected personally with just a few teachers in all of those years. That's all it took; their powerful influences were enough to sustain me through college and beyond.

As my students arrive on Tuesday, I'm going to remember this post. I'm going to remember that what I think about a child is reflected in my eyes (and sometimes, into the future) and that what I say to a young girl (or boy) may leave a powerful, lasting impression.

Oh, the pressure!

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