Now that school has started again for another year, I have been thinking lately about some of my teachers throughout the years. My favourite teacher was Miss Jones, my grade one teacher. I thought she was the sweetest, most beautiful, most intelligent person I had ever met. She was patient and gentle with all of the children. I remember one little boy ~~ Bobby ~~ who, it turned out, was severely intellectually challenged. He was a good-natured boy and everyone liked him, but the school work was beyond his intellectual capacity. He disappeared one day, several weeks into the school year, and we never saw him again. Miss Jones explained to us that Bobby had gone to a special school. I remember she had tears in her eyes when she told us, but we were too young to understand. A few years ago we had a school reunion, and Miss Jones was there, much older but still very pretty. It was wonderful to see her. She hugged me and said she remembered what a cute little girl I was. I realize now that Miss Jones was only 21 years old when I was in grade one.
It's amazing how a teacher can have an effect on a child's self-worth. When I was in grade eight ~~ that alligator-infested swamp of middle school ~~ I had a teacher who didn't particularly like me. She had three or four *favourites* and the rest of us were just ... well, the rest of us. She seemed to take great care in pronouncing my name incorrectly, even though I told her several times that it was pronounced this way, not that way. I realized years later that she was not a particularly inspired teacher, and probably didn't do it deliberately. But, at an age where girls want to feel accepted by their peers, and by their teachers, she made it blatantly obvious that most of us were not ... just so. She was very young at the time as well, only 21 or 22, and there is still a huge level of immaturity at that age. I hope she became wiser in later years.
Mrs. Winters was a jock, and was also the girls' gym teacher. She was married to the boys' gym teacher, Mr. Winters, and together they produced a gaggle of little jock-children. I was never a jock. I enjoyed sports such as ice-skating, bike-riding, hiking, swimming, but I loathed and despised competitive sports. Oddly enough, however, I was good at baseball, and Mr. Winters said he had never met anyone who could hit a baseball the way I did. I once hit a ball from the sports field all the way to the gymnasium, and knocked out a window. Mr. Winters just stood and stared at me in amazement. I felt that redeemed me somewhat with Mrs. Winters ~~ temporarily, anyway.
A few days ago I ran across Mrs. Winters on Facebook. I sent her a friendly message, however, I doubt she will remember me, and I don't expect to hear back from her. She probably would not recognize my name, in any case. She never could get it right...