#15: School Teachers
HERE TO SEE THE PHOTOS
Teachers I have known
and One Teacher I haven’t known
Mrs. Grimaldi was a teacher I
will always remember. She taught 6th grade English. Not only was she
interesting and smart, but she let us write our own booklet we were studying
myths and I made mine about “Ah-Choo, God of Sneezes.” I stlll have that
booklet! I illustrated it myself.
Mrs. Grimaldi made her class fun.
Mr. Rollings, our Drama teacher at AIS for 9th grade, was very strict but
hilarious. He threw himself into every class, and didn’t judge you for “wrong”
The only teacher I didn’t like in
school was the one who didn’t like my book report. It all happened in fifth
grade. My teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, said I copied it, and I didn’t. She said I
copied it off the book jacket because it used “big words” that I shouldn’t have
known. English was always one of my best subjects, mainly because I read so
much. I guess she didn’t know me very well, but still... that teacher should
have asked somebody first not just assumed that I had cheated. It hurt my
feelings that she thought I could do something like that.
My Mom came to my rescue.
Luckily, the book I had checked out was on the shelf in the library when my
teacher, my Mom and I went to see it. PLUS it had its book cover right on it.
Of course, the book jacket was totally different. (Because I had written the
report, not somebody else, and I NEVER copy.) The teacher was really mad that
she wasn’t right. I could tell. She apologized to me, but I could tell it
wasn’t a real apology. Why is it that some people just don’t get it?
Most of my other teachers in
grade school and high school seemed really happy being teachers. That’s one
reason I chose to go back to Western and get my teaching certification. I wanted
to get a job that would have meaning. What meaning is there to brochures and
business cards? You can do a nice logo or card, but eventually, somebody is
going to throw it out. So you are not really making a difference. Another
reason was, I had an opportunity to get help going back to school. I got laid
off from my job, then I went to the unemployment office and they told me, yes,
they DID have a program to help people who wanted to go back to school. I had
to choose from off of a list they gave us and I chose a Certification Only
BRADD the Barren River Area
Development District, pays for part of a chosen student’s schooling. You have
to pass the written test first so they know you don’t need remedial classes. I
was nervous, but passed it just fine. There was a class of 8 who filled out
forms with me and went to orientation.
Why did I chose teaching?
I always thought that teaching
school would be perfect for me because I enjoy people and would be doing
something worthwhile. PLUS, the time off (like summer) would be a great added
benefit. I was looking forward to that before I learned that I needed to get my
Master’s probably in the summers. Oh well. And I could be a substitute teacher
if I wanted to. Another plus (and a big one) was that I wanted to write. Being
a teacher, though it takes a LOT of time, would also allow me to write during
part of the year. That’s a major asset of that job.
My hero, Stephen King, used to be
a teacher. He didn’t really like it that much. It took up his writing time. As
soon as he could quit, he did. That was before all his bestselling books were
published. He remembers getting his first really big check from the publishers.
It was a great feeling. I hope I get that same feeling someday.
Why I chose English and Allied
Arts to teach
I love Art, but chose English and
Allied Arts because I would finish sooner. In one year, I’ll join the ranks of
real teachers and maybe even have my own class. I doubt that will happen,
though, because my area of expertise is English (and Art) and mostly (around
here anyway) English and Allied Arts teachers aren’t as much in demand. It
turns out Art teachers are more in demand than I’d thought, but they have to
travel a lot sometimes. Taking art classes is very time-consuming. I don’t
think I’d have been able to pull that off in 2 years. They have you work a LOT
outside of class, kind of like my speech class this year. The Allied Arts part
was added in to the requirements for an English teacher because schools need
speech coaches, drama coaches, and journalism people to head up clubs. These
courses will be very good to have (Theater in the Schools, Journalism in the
Schools, and Argumentation). It’s possible that I may be helping with these
areas or even being in charge somewhere.
What makes a good teacher?
A good teacher:
1. Helps every student in his/her
2. Does not pick favorites.
3. Incorporates diversity
education in his/her classroom.
4. Is committed to excellence.
5. Always keeps learning to stay
ahead of new ideas.
6. Works with other teachers and
staff to help students.
7. Knows each student’s learning
styles in order to help them learn better.
8. Enjoys their work.
9. Is clear about assignments and
10. Inspires their students to do
11. Provides a fair, safe
environment for students.
12. Does work outside the school,
13. Takes care of themselves in
order to do their best job.
You can still be a really good
teacher and not do all of these things. It’s mainly a guideline and what they
tell us in my Education classes. Another good quality of a teacher: they are
inspiring. They make their students want to do their best.
My grandmother was a teacher,
actually a “schoolmarm” in Wyoming a long time ago. She taught all ages in a
one-room schoolhouse. She met my grandfather there; he used to come calling at
the school on horseback, tethering it there. That sounds so romantic to me. I
wish I’d known her, but she died very young of a brain tumor and my Aunt Marge
(her daughter, and the oldest) ended up helping raise her younger brothers, one
of whom was my Dad. If my Grandma Hirst were alive today, I’d say,
“Grandma, you inspired me so
much. You are the main reason why I went back to school.” I would sit down
beside her and tell her about how teaching has changed through the years and
listen to her stories about teaching and homesteading out West in 1927. What
was it like out there right after the Homestead Act? What were her students
like? Did you actually live at the school? I would dearly love to know. I
wonder who her friends were did she miss her old home in Kentucky?
Grandma would listen patiently,
and tell me how proud of me she was. “Betsy, I’m sorry we never got to meet
each other,” I hear her say. “But we have so much in common. We both feel a
need to help other people, and both of us have never lost sight of what is
truly important. I believe in family, and I believe in teaching the very best
you can. I know that you are going to make me very proud.
“It’s important to believe in your students and to help
them grow and learn in order to be good citizens. Remember that, and never
forget. Let me tell you about my students. Joe Thompson went on to be the town
Clerk, did you know that? And little Suzie Brown married that rascal Mike Lawrence,
and they had eight wonderful children. All Mike used to want to do is play at
recess. He was a dreamer, but so smart. He was the best reader in his whole
class. And do you know, I taught Mike and Suzie’s son James for a whole year
before I left for the ranch with your grandfather? He was the spitting image of
his Dad. Oh, how I do miss those kids sometimes.
“Well, before I go, (she would
add...) I want you to know that I am sorry that I wasn’t able to meet you and
watch you grow up. But know that I wish you the very best and I love you very
I cried as I wrote this, because
until now I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed her, because I never met her. I
guess I thought you really couldn’t miss someone unless you had the chance to
meet him or her first. Now I know this isn’t true. How funny it is... you
explore your past, and write something the other person might say to you, and
how real it seems.
The only thing I used to have to
remember her by is an old photograph. And she doesn’t look very well in the
photo sadness is what I feel when I see it. She and my grandpa are standing
by a car, and she is wearing a hat pulled over on her head so you can’t really
see her face all that well. I think she was crying that day. Had she just come
back from the doctor? Is that why they had taken the car? Had he told her what
was wrong with her?
I had better go for now, but I want
to thank you for the kind words, Grandma Hirst. You can’t know what they mean
to me. Goodbye again for the very first time.
I looked for my grandmother's
picture, and I found it, along with a picture of an old Wyoming schoolhouse
of the period.
HERE TO SEE THE PHOTOS
2007 Intern Pages
2006 Student Teaching pages
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