Friday, December 17, 2010

My Life as a First Grader

From the Apple
Back in the day - children were not required to go to Kindergarten, but my mom worked so I was enrolled in a small private Kindergarten where I mostly remember playing in the sandbox. However, going to "real" school was a big deal and I enrolled in Royall Elementary School in Florence, SC on that first day of first grade with a little fear and lots of anticipation. My teacher was Mrs. sharp and she ruled with an iron hand. She was older, stern, and had a ruddy complexion. I don't remember that she ever smiled. I was deathly afraid of her. I vividly remember the day in first grade as we opened our reading books to the "adventures" of Dick, Jane, and Sally. I did not know the word "see" and called the word "look." My teacher was furious, furious, furious (as I remember it!) and pulled me by the ear. I was so afraid that she was going to make me wear the baby cap (which was a baby blue crocheted cap with a satin bow she made the "bad" boys wear to lunch) that I was practically trembling. I was a timid student with no self confidence. My mother had never read to me. I don't think she knew that is what she was suppose to do, so I was not particularly prepared for the academic pursuits of first grade. I was very fortunate the next year to have a second grade teacher, Mrs. Gilmore, who changed my life by believing in me. She was the reason that I later became a teacher. Right before I got married, my mother and I ran into Mrs. Sharp and she was actually delightful. She told my mom that I was such a sweet, well-behaved student. Really? She was actually pleasant and I remember walking away and being so surprised. That lesson has stuck with me all these years. When my students remember me I want it to be with a smile on my face!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Continuing the Challenge

From the Star

So the question this week on the fall-blog-challenge is what I was like in the grade that I teach now. Well I can start by saying that I had my group of girl friends - the same ones that I had had since I was in Kindergarten (two are still my best friends today!) Unfortunately, I feel that we were a little clicky and were exclusive with our group. I am sad to have to say this because I see things differently now. I try really hard to help my own third grade students be open to meeting new people and accepting people for who they are. It's one of the things I really wish I could change. Other than being clicky, we really did have a tight knit group. We did everything together and when I say everything, I mean everything - from before school, in school, after school and on the weekends. I guess some of that had to do with the fact that all of our moms worked together at the same school. They all liked to go in early and leave late and when I say late, I mean dinner time. It was dinner and bed by the time we got home! Let's just say that I pretty much grew up at the school and... I loved it. We had so much fun.

I remember being in 3rd grade because this was one of my favorite years. I had a teacher named Ms. Handler and she was a clown. No, really she was a clown on her off time. I remember so many things about her class. I remember the circus theme day where we actually had a circus outside and she dressed up as a clown and we got to walk on stilts and make paper mache clowns. I also remember getting in trouble a lot for talking in class with my friends, which is not a surprise considering how much I like to talk now! So, I can say that I do have a little more patience and sympathy for those talkers in my class. I can say sorry to my teacher, and mean it, because now I know how she felt. I also remember that I liked to hear read-a-louds in third grade which is the year that we read a lot of the Roald Dahl books - which were my favorite childhood books. It is amazing the influence that a teacher can have on you! I hope that my students will one day look up to me and thank me for being a part of their learning. I hope that I can make half of the impact on my students that my 3rd grade teacher made on me. The other thing that I remember about 3rd grade is all of the hands on activities. I can honestly say that I still believe that this is one of the best methods of teaching, which is why I use it in my class everyday! Thanks, Miss Handler for making my third grade year such a memorable one!

P.S.-In the picture at the top of this post, that's me in the second row, third from the left.