Good Life

Notes from a Teacher | Challenging student applies lessons as teacher

I like to think that I am someone who marches to the beat of her own drum. I have certain, well, let’s call them charms, and although they serve me well as an adult they provided my parents with many headaches when I was young. I think I might have been what is now called a spirited/challenging child. I simply could not manage to stop talking!

I remember one day in middle school algebra, our teacher, Mr. Shaffer, discovered I was reading a novel behind my math book while he was teaching a very important lesson on, um, well, math! (I was so engrossed in Nancy Drew’s latest adventure that I couldn’t possibly wait until I got home to finish it.) Upon this discovery, I learned that he could throw a mean eraser, and actually hit a book inside a book from the whole way across the room! (He was mighty talented.) I also recall spending that class period, and many more that year, in the hall. In fact, I planned and performed many “shows” for the class outside the room as they were inside “learning”.

I also recall a similar incident from my fourth grade classroom in Catalina Isle, Fla. We were studying the life cycle of plants, and our teacher wrote the word photosynthesis on the board. I immediately noticed that she had misspelled the word. (I learned it while attending kindergarten in Nice, France. Don’t tell me HOW I remembered such a word, but apparently I did.) When I tried to correct her, in my most helpful way, she immediately kicked me out of class, and I spent the rest of the afternoon in the hall.

One of the constants through these school years was the fact that no matter how many mistakes I made, and no matter how many punishments I had to endure, I still managed to LOVE school.

I’ve come to realize that the reason that I love teaching, and particularly the challenging students, is because I was one myself. I never stopped talking, was always interested in what little Mary or Little Johnny was doing, and could not for the LIFE of me sit still. In fact, for six years straight my teachers would say “If Debbie would talk less and study more her grades would be phenomenal.” (OK, I might have embellished the last part, but the FIRST part was always the same.)

Fortunately for me, in first grade we talk constantly! The teachers talk and the children talk, and usually it’s all at the same time. However, the adorable part about the kids talking is that they have their own language, and primary teachers are pretty fluent in what we call kid talk. So, with this school year but a memory, I’d like to leave you with the most recent installment in our kid-talk manual. (Swallow that coffee.)

“Mrs. Marsh, when the doctor wooked at me at the pointment, he used a telescope. But good fing I’m not sick!”

“I know about groundhogs! They hyphenate!”

“My brother congratulated from preschool yesterday.”

“My favowite food is basketti.”

“My mom uses pukons when we go to the store.” (I think that one MIGHT be coupons…)

“Lasternight I went to Pizza Hut. Or maybe lasterday.”

“My mom says my fork and spoon are my youpencils”

“I got a new baiting suit!”

Now, pass the sunscreen, find the cabana boy and let me put my feet up. I’ve got to rest up for next year’s crew.