IT HAPPENED IN SCHOOL ......
              experiences in education


 

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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 learned.
   
    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 time.
   
    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 to become."

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