I recently saw one of my beloved second grade teachers after thirty-five years. I actually took my two little girls who are 7 and 8 to see her with me. I figured if anything she would remember me more because I was that age when I was in her class at Madeira Beach Elementary School back in the 1970’s.
My teacher, Mrs. Nancy Gaster, had fallen and fractured her hip and was in a rehabilitation center. I found this out in our church bulletin. Some of you may have had her when she taught school. She was a wonderful teacher. I remember she had treasure chest we could go in and get prizes when we were good. I also remember we had a guinea pig as our class pet. Each weekend one student would get to take the pet home. She was always very nice and made school fun. I think when you get a good start in your early years of education it really paves the way for the rest of your education. I enjoyed school. I think at that time I even wanted to be a teacher.
Now, I look at my kids and the teachers they have had so far. Their teachers have been very good. Both of my girls love going to school. My youngest daughter wants to be a teacher when she grows up.
Teachers are with our kids sometimes more hours in the day than we are as parents. Besides us, teachers are probably the second biggest influence in a kids life. We want those influences to be positive. Especially during the time our kids are in elementary school. We need for our kids to be told positive things about themselves. We need our kids to have good self-esteem. This comes from teachers and from us as parents.
I was talking to a teacher who retired about two years ago. She told me a story about how a student she had in first grade recently found her through the internet. She said this student had been looking for her for years. He sent her a note in the mail telling her how he remembered when she helped him when he came to her school. I think she said it had been more than thirty years ago. He was new to the school and put in another class, but the teacher told him he wasn’t smart enough for her class because she had the higher readers, so he needed to go to a lower level. This teacher said she took him with open arms into her class and told him that he was smart and she would help him be a better reader. At the end of his first grade year, he was reading really well.
He remembered how she was so nice to him and she didn’t put him down. I asked her what he was doing today. She said he was married to a girl from the first grade class and both of them were doctors.
I know teachers have a lot to deal with these days, several of my family members are educators, but the impact a teacher has can change a person’s life. I know Mrs. Gastor was a special teacher who had a positive influence in my life.