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!

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