i remember it so clearly. in my elementary school, there were two first grade teachers. there was Mrs. Gorman. she was exactly what any child could wish for in a teacher. she was young, pretty, warm, loving. and then there was Mrs. Leib. she was exactly what any child wouldn’t want in a teacher. she was old. and she looked an awful lot like a turtle (in more of a Franklin kind of way than a Meredith Grey kind of way. and for the record…that genius comparison did NOT come from me. it came from the ever so lovely Beck over at Frog and Toad are Friends. love her!). She wasn’t warm. or kind. or friendly. she gave a ton of homework. (and i remember very well – she allowed a boy in my class to have an accident in the classroom because he dared to need to use the bathroom at an inopportune time.)
i’ll give you one guess as to which teacher i had in first grade. i’ve told you all many a time – - – i’m VERY unlucky (although i did win three things in theÂ [insert company name here] Silent Auction….but really, can you call it winning when you have to pay for the items??? what do you really win? oooh…you win the right to pay for this item! tempting, isn’t it? so tempting that i did it thrice.)
I spent the year in envy of my friends next door. while they were singing and dancing and doing arts and crafts, we were WORKING. and working hard.
When i first took a look at Ms. Paterson (Emily’s JK teacher), i didn’t exactly know what to make of her. She was socially a little awkward, didn’t talk much. She seemed much more the hands-off type than the lovey-dovey type. She was big on routines. on homework. on all kinds of work.
It turns out that Ms. Paterson was the best thing that ever happened to my Emily. She thrived in Ms. Paterson’s class. She needed that teacher who told it like it was, instead of sugar-coating it. She taught Emily to read. and write. and use her mind creatively. She taught her how to infer from the stories she was hearing. she taught Emily how to keep a journal. She taught her to follow routines and to follow instructions. she taught her to learn to hold it in and wait for the right time to go to the bathroom.
She is one FANTASTIC teacher. BUT (and this is a big but. bwah), i’m sure that there are many children who fare better with a different type of teacher. because Emily is just like me, Ms. Paterson was a godsend.
I’m thrilled to pieces that Emily has her again this year for SK and that Joshie has her as well. I wish all kids could benefit from a Ms. Paterson.
and now that i think about it…i did. Mrs. Leib was my Ms. Paterson. and now, more than 20 years later, i can finally appreciate that i had the better teacher all along.
did you vote yet today?