When Life - Teaching the Heart and Soul
The teaching profession, in my opinion, is one of the most admirable career paths you could choose. There are a lot of positions of power, but when you really think about it, teachers despite the ever-reaching government and interference into their classrooms, have a tremendous amount of personal power in the lives of children.
“A truly great teacher is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget.” – Author Unknown
Hard to find. Difficult to part with. Impossible to forget.
I can’t think of truer words to describe the teachers that have impacted my life.
For me personally, I will never forget my 3rd grade teacher at Center Point Elementary. Her name was Mrs. Underwood and I thought she was the fanciest and most glamorous person in the world! She wore dresses and skirts and stilettos that made the most authoritative sound in the classroom. If you didn’t have the pleasure of having her as your teacher, you may have been slightly intimidated by her. She was everything I would have loved to have been.
I knew nothing about curriculum and standards and such until I had a school age child of my own. Looking back, I honestly remember nothing academic related in her class. In fact, I struggle to remember doing any formal math or reading, even though I am sure we did. I will tell you what I do remember.
In her class, I learned to read and write in cursive. We spent days learning this dying skill. I had my own signature by 4th grade. Because of her, I can read my grandfather’s wartime love letters to my grandmother. I can read and understand the documents of our country. I can write (and read) beautiful quotes and scripture.
I am left handed and at the time my handwriting was atrocious! My letters slanted to the right and my left hand was always covered in ink. She used to say, “Mrs. Braden, I could blow your letters right off the page if I wanted to.” I had to stay in class and practice everyday until my letters stood nice and straight and no longer hanging on my paper for dear life.
Through art, we learned math. I remember specifically 2 drawings we did fairly often; our dream house and self-portraits. She gave us large sheets of paper and we had to sit on the floor next to one another while we learned geometry through architecture and facial features. It was relaxing, enjoyable, and most importantly rememberable.
We wrote a lot. Practicing letter writing and our signatures. Towards the end of the year, some things could only be written in cursive.
Despite being one of the shiest kids in class, Mrs. Underwood with her confidence in each of us spilling over in her facial expressions, could get me to read AND sing parts of a play to everyone in my class. It didn’t feel strange because we did it a lot. And we cheered each other on. We were taught to be supportive of one another.
I remember a little girl named “Jessica” in my class. She cried a lot and often wet her pants. She sat about 2 seats behind me. Mrs. Underwood helped her a lot with her work. I only now recognize what was happening because I have my own “Jessica.” She was very kind to her and never once excluded her (at least from what I remember) from any of the activities we did. I never knew back then that anything was wrong with her, because Mrs. Underwood didn’t treat her as though anything was wrong with her. I can see now how that lesson has stuck with me my entire life. You are kind and helpful to others no matter the differences.
In a time where education is all above the shoulders, Mrs. Underwood taught lessons that softened our hearts and schooled our souls. We were educated and prepared for the real lessons in life.
With love and lemons,
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