The opening of school has caused me to reminisce about my own school days. The days when the teacher was always right. You went to school with one thing on your mind… learning. If you got in trouble at school, you were punished at home, too.
I’m sure that all of my teachers influenced me in some way, but several come to memory more vividly than others.
• Mrs. Ruth Calcote, my first grade teacher, taught me to read and to love reading.
• Mrs. Gloria Stamps taught me to write in cursive, and not to chase boys around the classroom.
• Mrs. Wyvette Griffith made math fun by giving us students a lollipop recipe for homework. Measuring the ingredients was a practical learning experience with a most delicious end result.
• Mrs. Ann Dale taught me that homework was an important part of schoolwork. The more you had, the more you learned.
• Mrs. Beryl Harper started each school day with a word problem on the board. I would eagerly copy the puzzle and work frantically to complete it. Little did I know that I was using various thought processes to come up with the right answer.
• Mrs. Betty Odum and Mrs. Brenda Jones brought a song to my heart and lips each time I attended music class.
• Mrs. Neva Thompson patiently taught me notes and tempo, which enabled me to play “Country Gardens” and other musical pieces.
• Mrs. Cathleen Parker brought literature into my life with more exuberance than one would think capable of such a petite lady. I memorized poems and scripture (yes, in public school).
• Mrs. Nell Williams lectured on past events in history. Then, she allowed us students to visualize them through models.
• Mrs. Jean Livingston and Mrs. Alla Faye Fike showed me that math was not only numbers, but letters, angles, and theorems, too.
• Coach Armstrong made me aware that current events were history in the making.
• Mrs. Maxine Williams taught me how to sew, even though it took three years.
• Daddy taught me how to drive, but Coach Brister, my driver’s education instructor, taught me how to slow down, brake, take a deep breath, and move on.
There were two people who laid the foundation for my educational future… my parents.
They instilled in me the desire to learn. Rather than making me do my homework, they encouraged and helped me. My parents made me aware of the resources that were available to me… encyclopedias at home, my grandmother next door (a former high school English teacher), the public library, local people that knew the history of Prentiss, because they lived it.
In our household, college was not an option. It was just the next rung on the educational ladder. Is there any doubt that my major would be education?
I have been going to school since I was in kindergarten… 53 years. My husband often asks, “When are you going to quit?”
I always respond, “Not yet.”
Why should I? I’m still learning!