Grate­ful for teach­ers that have made learn­ing fun

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Ear­lier this month, my daugh­ter left el­e­men­tary school for the last time. Each year I’ve been grate­ful to her teacher, but this year I re­ally stopped to think about what each teacher did for her dur­ing her el­e­men­tary school ca­reer.

When my daugh­ter en­tered kin­der­garten with Mrs. Ray at Wil­liam A. Diggs El­e­men­tary School, she did not un­der­stand that those lit­tle black marks on the page rep­re­sented sounds and words. By Oc­to­ber, she was read­ing. I’d spent five years read­ing to her and Mrs. Ray ac­com­plished teach­ing her to un­der­stand her let­ter sounds in one month. She also taught her that read­ing was a de­light­ful ac­tiv­ity and that school was fun.

Then the bound­aries changed, and we were sent to J.C. Parks El­e­men­tary. Mrs. Joly-O’Brien was her first grade teacher. She taught my daugh­ter that math pat­terns made it easy to com­pute in your head. How did she do that? With math games. Yes, the chil­dren played games, prac­ticed math and com­pletely en­joyed them­selves. Learn­ing was (and still is) fun.

In sec­ond grade her teacher, Mrs. Gold­smith, taught her that lis­ten­ing and read­ing com­pre­hen­sion was im­por­tant. She al­lowed my daugh­ter to make mis­takes and learn how to fix them. Her teacher also had a coura­geous con­ver­sa­tion with me about her ed­u­ca­tion and what I needed to do as her par­ent. I thank her to this day for hav­ing the hutz­pah to ad­dress her con­cerns.

Third grade with Mrs. Flesh­man taught my girl that if you sprin­kle ev­ery­thing with joy and kind­ness, even writ­ing can be fun. I didn’t think that writ­ing would ever be a skill that my daugh­ter would do with­out cry­ing over, but guess what — while she might not sprin­kle it with joy, she now does it.

She also needed to learn how to set and achieve goals. For­tu­nately, Mrs. Batch­e­lor was ex­actly the right fourth grade teacher to do that for her. That girl learned how to get her work done and do it well. She and I both re­spected the high ex­pec­ta­tions that Mrs. Batch­e­lor set for her and helped her achieve.

Then along came fifth grade and Mr. Mudd. He was able to wrap up her el­e­men­tary ca­reer in a beau­ti­ful man­ner. He told me in the begin­ning of the year that he would give her free­dom and see how she worked with it. Sure enough, she needed some lessons on how to “work” and have free­dom. In the end, though, she was able to work with her class­mates on higher or­der think­ing as­sign­ments and en­joy the process. Just as im­por­tantly, he taught her how to stand up for her­self and do what needed to be done, just be­cause it needed do­ing.

Along with all the teach­ers came a guid­ance coun­selor that pro­vided the guid­ance to my daugh­ter through the years. Mrs. Cole never rolled her eyes when my daugh­ter showed up again in her of­fice with some­thing that needed solv­ing. Through all those years, Mrs. Cole did teach her how to man­age many prob­lems with kind­ness and ci­vil­ity.

It does truly take a vil­lage to raise a child, and I am so very grate­ful that my daugh­ter’s vil­lage con­tains the won­der­ful teach­ers and coun­selor that have helped bring her up. Yes, they taught her to read, write and com­pute; but more im­por­tantly, they taught her how to be a good per­son, how to set goals, how to solve prob­lems, how to look out for oth­ers, how to look out for her­self and how to be a good learner. For them I am for­ever grate­ful.

Karen Dresser, White Plains

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