The Lady at the Top of the Pedestal

Quick! Can you name a teacher that you had that made an incredibly big difference in you? I have written about  a few of my teachers that I had in elementary school.  They were wonderful for a variety of reasons.  But one teacher that I had was super awesome and I plan to talk about her.

I hated going to 9th grade even before the school doors opened that year.  You see, there was a brand new high school in my area that was opening and I had been looking forward to going there.  Then the community found out that the high school was already too small for the numbers of students headed there.  So the county came up with a plan where part of the students would go to the “old” high school for one year in order to reduce the freshman class at the new school.  Well, guess who had to go to the old school? If you said—-me, you were right.  Grrrr.

I had attended the “old” school in first grade.  So I knew where it was and all about some of the buildings.  And it was old-really old.  It had desks that were hooked together, oiled wooden floors and cloakrooms.

I am sure that the teachers who were transferred from the new school to the old school were not happy either.  As a teacher, I can just imagine moving from a new, modern school to an old, old one. I am sure they felt punished.

But then, a miracle happened.  I was assigned to a Mrs. C for advanced English.  What the school told my parents was that they were offering special advanced classes for some students and I was in the advanced English class.  The first day she gave us a little taste of what we were headed for that year.  She had planned probably two years worth of English because she planned to “fly” along with this special class.

So, what did we do? Well, first of all we read novels-not stories from a literature book.  We read Pride and Prejudice first-every word of it.  We had essay questions on our tests and we learned to write proper answers. We learned to do a term paper. We diagramed sentences that took two pieces of Blue Horse notebook paper taped together! She read to us in class.  She became the character in the novel.  She read Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales aloud to us.  She played classical music in our room.  She was the FIRST English/Reading teacher that I had where I DID NOT HIDE a book behind a book so I could read something else.

And she invited students to her home.  She divided us into small groups of three or four and we had dinner with her at her home during that year.  During dinner she would talk to us about world events, great novels, whatever.  We learned how to have  adult conversations about poetry and art and world events.  She was amazing.

I had three more years of English and I must say that I never learned anything new in English after I spent that year with Mrs. C.  Thank You So Much!