Influential Teachers, Classmates
(Page 2 of 8)
I know it was my first-grade teacher who created the love of learning in me. She gave me an eagerness and desire to learn, and I praise her for that, because it has carried me through life.
Mary - Topeka, Kansas
Lessons Learned From Classmate
When my family moved in 1933, I began attending a new school. I was in fifth grade, and Crystal was in sixth. Having a handicap of sorts in common, we quickly became good friends.
I had abnormal hip sockets, and Crystal had bone tuberculosis that she contracted when she fractured her left arm. She held her arm close to her body as if it were in a sling, because if anything bumped or jarred it, a horrible shooting pain ran through her arm.
Jumping rope was a favorite recess activity at our school. However, because of my hips and Crystal’s arm, neither of us could jump. Since the other kids would rather jump than turn the rope, Crystal and I turned the rope. It was the perfect way for us to be included in an activity we could otherwise not have participated in.
While the other kids played rougher games we couldn’t play, Crystal and I would sit and talk. Through those talks, Crystal taught me many techniques to help minimize my handicap. She also helped me learn how to ignore all but the most severe pain, how to be grateful for my blessings, how to keep smiling and how to live as though I wasn’t handicapped. She was truly an inspiration to me.
Crystal has since passed away, but I am reminded of her every day as I live a full and happy life as though I’m not handicapped. I have gone hiking in several countries, and I still go places and do things that many women my age don’t do anymore. Every year or so, I travel the many miles to the area where I grew up. While there, I visit family and friends, and I make a trip to the cemetery, where I pause at the graves of loved ones. I always visit Crystal’s grave and thank her for her friendship and all the lessons she taught me.
People often tell me I’m an inspiration to them. I’m just thankful for all the people who have helped me along the way, and Crystal was one of the most inspirational of those people.
Geraldene - Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Teacher’s Motto Passed Down
Who would have thought my high-school algebra teacher, Mrs. Barrett, could employ a unique teaching method that would have a profound effect on my life, as well as the lives of my children and grandchildren?
On our first day of school, Mrs. Barrett told everyone in her freshman algebra class that she would not tolerate the word “can’t.” Instead, she wanted us to say, “I’m not sure I can do that, but I’ll try.” Naturally, we didn’t take her seriously, until one day in class when a boy was having trouble solving an algebra problem.
Frustrated, he said, “Mrs. Barrett, I can’t do it.” Her smiling face melted into an unfamiliar frown, and she asked, “Are you sure that’s what you meant to say?” The boy suddenly remembered her rule and stammered, “No, ma’am, I meant to say I don’t think I can solve the problem, but I’ll try.” He gave it another try, and with a little gentle assistance from Mrs. Barrett, he solved it.
Page: << Previous 1
| 2 | 3
| Next >>