To my Children from Decades Past: It is comforting to believe some of you remember me. Teachers have egos too. As I said in Part 1, I remember also. I wish it were not so but I admit to remembering the “Attention Getters” more than I remember the students who obediently went about their lessons – the kind that often get ignored. Sorry about that. However, many of you were rewarded for your efforts by getting good grades. I loved you; I was deeply appreciative of you; you learned from me, and I learned from you! A few years ago, I had a dream in which I went to Heaven and there you were in your classrooms down the hall. Well, I’m not in Heaven yet, and few of you are there yet. But it was a nice dream.
I promised to tell you some of my memories, so here goes:
- Oh, El, how much I needed your gift to me! It was first year of integration in our city. A trying year. A learning year. A challenging year. I was new in teaching; I wanted so badly to please. El, one morning I went to the classroom and there on my desk was a note you had left for me. It said, “We know you love us.” I wish you could know today that I am crying over the memory. Thank you, Precious. I hope your life has been touched the way you touched mine.
- Howard, one day I was getting sort of irritated by my inability to make you understand some math concept. I hope it wasn’t coming through my voice but it might have been, or was very near to it. I remember seeing your little hand at the edge of my desk. The sight of that hand grabbed my heart—I thought, “Why he’s just a baby.” That gave me a dose of patience that I badly needed.
- Eugene, you had a reputation that everyone would cherish. One day the tattle tails were clambering. I couldn’t get the story straight. Someone said, “Teacher, just ask Eugene. He always tells the truth.” What a wonderful thing to have said about you!
- And my dear Betsy: I wanted you for my own. I would have taken you if it had been possible. What made you so dear to me was the fact that you were so pretty, so sweet in spite of having been to fourteen different schools before you came to me—in three years. What could you have been had you had any stability in your life! I’m not intending to criticize your parents, however; they must have been special to have such a special child.
- And little Jackie. Your first grade teacher sent you to me so I could give you a reading test. You tested above the scale which reached year 14. You were so cute on the word “psuedonym.” You looked up at me and said, “That “p” is silent, isn’t it, teacher.” Then you pronounced the word perfectly.
- Joe, you had the patience of Job. You were a big quiet boy and Pest was little and noisy. He seemed determined to annoy you. You peacefully remained true to yourself and your standards. I was proud of you. Sorry I did not do more to free you from the pest.
Well, Dear Readers, I have promised myself to keep my posts short, so I must stop, but I find so many memories in my “Past Student” file, I will be back with more on another day.