A good teacher is like a candle: it consumes itself to light the way for others."
Perhaps you, like me, have more than one favorite schoolteacher.
1. Mrs. Gossett. My first-grade teacher is a favorite because she taught me how to do one of my favorite activities: read.
She was a young and attractive lady with a flair for fashion that even the local newspaper wanted to showcase.
It happened on the day that Mrs. Gossett wore a trendy “balloon” outfit.
The long-sleeved dress had no fitted waist and “ballooned” loosely to the street-length hem where the fullness of the garment was gathered to a circumference barely wide enough for her to walk. That spring-green dress complemented her well-coifed hair, high heels, and bright lipstick.
All of us kids were impressed.
At the time, we didn't know about World Teachers' Day because it didn't exist. We'd have to wait until 1994 for a global celebration of teachers' contributions and the support they need to deploy their talents and help build the future.
Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another."
2. Mrs. MacIntyre (spelling?). My eighth-grade American History teacher is another favorite because she taught one of my favorite subjects: history. She is also notable because when I was in the early years of elementary school, she taught “Summer Craft” at my school.
As I recall, our public school district ran Summer Craft for approximately six weeks, five days per week, during the school break. Our day began around nine in the morning and continued until perhaps four in the afternoon.
Mrs. MacIntyre--a robust widow with one, maybe two, daughters in college--headed the daily activities of crafts, games, story time, and contests. Since the kids lived within walking distance of their respective homes, we went home for lunch.
On Wednesday mornings, a local theater offered free child-appropriate films. Mothers were recruited to carpool us to and from the theater and stay (as chaperones) to enjoy the movie. Summer Craft kids from around town packed the theater.
Looking back, the most remarkable thing about Summer Craft was that it was free to the participants. At that point in history, the majority of voters in our college town agreed that public school tax dollars were well-spent on non-mandatory summertime education for young children.
3. Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith is a favorite because he taught two of my favorite subjects. I had the good fortune to take American History from him during my junior year in high school and, in my senior year, Geography. Mr. Smith not only liked American History, but also understood, as did Mrs. MacIntyre, that history is about stories. And he thoroughly enjoyed telling the story.
Alas, non-competitive teacher salaries in Oklahoma led him to a more lucrative career to provide for his family. At the conclusion of my senior year, he became a golf pro.
Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.”
Until next time, Good Reading!
1. UNESCO = United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
2. ILO = International Labour Organization.
3. World Teachers' Day.
Lynne Schall is the author of three novels: Women's Company - The Minerva Girls (2016), Cloud County Persuasion (2018), and Cloud County Harvest (November 2022). She and her family live in Kansas, USA, where she is writing her fourth novel, Book 3 in the Cloud County trilogy.