The First Year
" We worry about what a
child will be tomorrow,
Yet we forget that he or she is someone today."
--- Stacia Tausher
I often think back to the days when I was a little girl attending a small town school and of the people that affected my life and helped
me to become the person that I am. It is interesting that of all
the things we remember about school, we most often remember our experiences
and how we related to events in the daily life of school and not what we
I never attended Kindergarten
as in "those days" Kindergarten was only a gleam in the eye of some educational
guru. However, it is true that most of the things we need to know
in life, we learn in that very first year of school. Here I learned
that I was certainly not as important as I was at home and tried so very
hard not to ever make a mistake.
I do remember the very first
day of school in grade one and how I went so reluctantly to choose my desk...having
never seen one before. I did not know many of the other children
in my class and I was quiet and shy and hoped that I would not be called
upon to do anything.
My teacher had a rather
mean streak and once threw chalk at one of my classmates for sleeping
during a spelling test. Little did she know, or maybe she didn't
care, that this poor little soul sat at night on the doorstep of her house,
waiting for her parents or big sister to come home.
I was punished for having
eaten the raisin eyes from my Christmas reindeer by having to stay after
school to glue new eyes. Such an embarrassing event was this to me
that I told no one but cried all the way home. I seldom had raisins
at home and even two were so scrumptious looking that I could not resist.
My Dad thought I should
have a haircut called the "boyish bob ", the appearance of which you can
well imagine. This was to encourage my thin, fine hair to become
thick, which it did nothing of the kind. I, of course , was teased
unmercifully but later volunteered to play the "garbage man" in the
class play because none of the boys would do it and became a "star" .
I wet my pants one day,
being afraid to ask to go to the bathroom. I was sent home with those
pants, red they were, freezing to my legs, and still
can feel how the very coldness of them made me despise my teacher and how
insignificant I was to her!!
My really, very fondest
memory of the first grade was the day I stood outside the door of the school
in -40 degree weather, waiting for the doors to be opened.
School rules dictated that the doors not open until 8:35 a.m. I was crying
for I had just walked seven blocks to school and I could not feel the fingers
on my hands anymore, so cold they were. I was allowed into school
almost secretly by Tommy Mitchell. A tiny little
man barely bigger than I was at six years old, Tommy was known for
his kind heart. "There, there," he said as he wiped my eyes
and rubbed my hands, "I'll warm your hands for you." Tommy was the
school janitor and his act of kindness became a symbol of humanness
forever engraved in my soul. He probably never knew that for the
rest of my life I would remember his single act of kindness and think of
him each time I saw a child standing outside the school door in the winter
That, in a nutshell, was
grade One. Had it not been for the wonderful caring teacher who guided
me through the second grade I am sure I would never in my life have considered
becoming a teacher. My first grade experiences however, did become
useful as they became a model to me of the kind of teacher I did NOT want