When I was in third grade. (eons ago LOL)I had a wonderful teacher, she had a gentle spirit about her. She loved to read us books and was always happy and enjoyed the kids. Each afternoon she would read to her homeroom from a popular literature book. She brought it to life.
Third grade actually was my favorite year of all my school years. Later on, I even went back and visited this teacher, she meant so much to me and how much I enjoyed school then…
But, she didn’t move up in grades, she always taught third graders. I moved on to fourth grade and when I found out who my teacher was I was excited. He actually had the same last night as my favorite third-grade teacher, YAY, that must mean that he will be really nice and fun, right?
Oh, the mind of a child…so innocent and foolish…
My fourth-grade year started out just as most of the other years, but then we had an assignment, the teacher had us get into groups of 5 or 6 and then we used paper mache and a blown up balloon to create the Earth. Well, for some reason, and I honestly don’t remember understanding the directions. Instead of making all the landforms as they should be I made dots…. all…over…it…. AGAIN, I have no idea what I was thinking, why I didn’t understand the directions, nor why none of the other kids in my group said anything about why was I doing what I was doing?
Well, when the teacher saw what I had done, he tore me apart…. in front of everyone in my class. How could I have not paid attention and thought that the Earth looked like that? How dumb was that? Was I really that stupid? Why would I even think that was close to what the Earth looked like? (as he pointed at a globe in the room)
Ok, now that I am older I honestly don’t understand why I did it, why I didn’t understand the directions, but I do know that day was one of the worst days in my school years. And the beginning of me disliking school completely.
After that day I remember too many mornings, crying at the bus stop because I didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t give any reason, I am not even sure if I knew what the reason was. Other than, I was hurt, kids teased and picked on me about the polka-dot globe for too many days, weeks and years. I remember hiding from the school bus, and since we lived so far from school after the bus went, my Mom wouldn’t take me into school because of the distance. I am sure she wondered what was going on and why I didn’t want to go. Or she just figured I was being a kid and didn’t want to go to school.
But, that wasn’t it. After the globe incident, there was more, one time we were working on banners for the school and one of the popular girls decided that the pencil I was using was hers. Well, she accused me of stealing her pencil, called me all kinds of names and it just went on from there. The teacher made me give her the pencil, apologize for taking it and I was then done working on the banners.
Looking back, even though it was just a pencil, it was what happened that hurt so much. Instead of the teacher listening to me, he immediately figured I took the pencil and needed to be made an example of again. The fourth-grade was one of my most disliked years of school.
How can some teachers be so kind and caring toward all students, and others be so mean and hurtful to their students. I don’t understand, and to this day, I am puzzled as to why my fourth-grade teacher became a teacher at all?
I do know that because of that experience and a few others throughout my school years, the choice to homeschool my kids was easy. Children are tender spirits eager and ready to be molded and shaped into responsible young adults. It is our job as adults to encourage our kids and other children that we cross paths with, to be strong and kind people. To look for opportunities to help and encourage others.
I know that there are many teachers out there that love their job and love the kids that they teach. Teachers have very hard jobs, and many do an exceptional job. If you are a teacher I commend you, keep up the great work and keep loving those students that you have the privilege of teaching. And remember to be patient with those students that might make an honest mistake while working on a project, remember your words to them in that moment could encourage, or discourage them for the rest of their life.