A look at my favorite teachers reveals volumes about me as a learner. I loved my 4th grade teacher because she would sing every verse of “Froggy Went a Courtin’.” And I loved my 6th grade teacher because she was an artist, and we did elaborate art projects once a week. She noticed how much I loved art and assigned me a bulletin board that was outside our classroom in the hallway. I decorated it each month with a new theme. Some of my favorite times at school were when we sang the songs from the music books like “The Erie Canal” and “My Grandfather’s Clock.” And, I remember all of the Conjunction Junction songs, as well as the poems we used to memorize grammar: I before e, except after c, and when sounding as a in neighbor and weigh.
I specifically remember a day in 5th grade when the teacher gave us a challenge. She put a multiplication problem on the board with 6 numbers on the top and 6 on the bottom. We all worked the problem, and then she worked it on the board and asked us to raise our hand if we had gotten all the steps in the problem correct. I raised my hand, and the class began to jeer. “You did not. You never get it right.” they said. The teacher walked over to my desk and checked my problem as everyone sat quietly. She announced to the class that I had indeed gotten the problem right. Evidently I could do the math if I wanted to. It would be interesting to go back in time and try to figure out why that day was different from other days.
When I entered the 7th grade, things changed for the better. I think changing classes every 50 minutes had something to do with it. Most importantly, I discovered band. On the days when I woke up and thought, “I don’t want to go to school.” I would tLet me tell you a little bit abut my educational experiences. I started to first grade as one of the youngest in the class, and was usually the smallest in every class through the sixth grade. In first grade, I remember getting a “spanking” from the teacher almost every day. She said she was going to teach me to be quiet. I’m still waiting on that remedy to work. I almost failed several times in grades 1-6. The teachers’ comments on my report cards have some recurring themes: she stares out the window, she won’t pay attention, she won’t finish her work, etc. I wasn’t a bad kid; never caused any problems, I just wasn’t engaged, and as long as I didn’t bother anybody, I just slipped on by. But, since grades were the measure of intelligence (I thought), I was pretty much convinced I was borderline stupid.hen think…”I’ll miss band!” That was enough to get me up and out the door. One very important thing I learned in junior high school was that if I listened to the teacher, I could usually make a B, and if I tried to listen to the teacher and take notes, I could make a C or a D. Everything was OK unless I happened into a classroom where the teacher thought I should write down everything he or she said. I didn’t do well in those classes.