Article: Spotlight: Words: Teachers

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Image Spotlight: Words
By Sharon Brown on November 1, 2015

Something to think about in our roles as the older generation

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Imagepajonica
Oct 31, 2015 8:26 PM CST
Name: Jon
Japan, Ibaraki
I have been inspired by a few people in my life, none of them were teachers save perhaps you Sharon.
Fortune favors the brave.
Tickling is no laughing matter.
http://cubits.org/DIYcomfortheserious/
ImageSharon
Oct 31, 2015 8:52 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Goodness, Jon. Thank you! Lovey dubby
Imagevic
Nov 1, 2015 9:08 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
You're an inspiration to all of us Sharon. Lovey dubby Lovey dubby

My 6th grade teacher was awesome. I was out of school for a long time for illness. As I was recuperating, she would come to our house after school and tutor me so I wouldn't get behind. I'll never forget her. Miss McGill was her name. I wrote her when I had my first baby and told her I hoped my children would have teachers like her Thumbs up
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ImageSharon
Nov 1, 2015 9:40 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Sweet words, Vic. Thank you.

I was fortunate in that I held my favorite teachers close in my heart all through the years, though I rarely ever saw them. My first grade teacher is still living and I visited her when I was last home, 2010. I knocked on her door and there she was, in her 90s, and first words she said, "Well where have you been all these years, it's 'bout time you came a callin'. She had forgotten nothing. Of course she and Mom were good friends and she had married my Mom's first cousin, so part of that was a family thing, but still it had been probably 20 years since I had seen her.

My next favorite was my 8th grade teacher, and her family asked me to paint a picture for her surprise 100th birthday party. I surprised them all by painting a picture of her home including some colorful spring blooming bushes that grew on each side of her front porch. My brother had taken a picture of it for me, so I painted it from the picture. She loved it and somewhere I have a picture of her opening that painting. Makes me cry even now. Jack is her son and was a friend of my parents, so it was through him that I got the painting there on time. Now that she's gone, he's also in his 90s and he has the painting. He lives in Washington State. I hear from him occasionally and he always tells me, "Mom's painting is still beautiful," and sends me a picture. he's even on FB and can't believe he found me there. Awesome man.

And there were many more. In the early 2000s I went to the funeral of the one who pushed me to get outta the box, to color outside the lines and that perfection came in many forms. She was 99 that year and I had talked with her on her birthday. I swear she remembered more about me than I even remembered about myself and asked me on that birthday phone call to recite for her the poem that starts like this: "An old man going a lone highway came at the evening cold and gray to a chasm, vast, deep and wide and built a bridge to span the tide . . ."

I can't remember the title but it might be The Bridge Builder and the author's name was Charles something. Anyway it is an inspiring poem and I've known it forever. It was also one of my grandfather's favorite poems, long story behind that. But I recited it for her and that was the last time I talked with her. She was a little bitty thing who loved the mountains as much as she loved poetry, literature and the arts. She pushed me out of that holler I grew up in.

So I have had many great teachers, not all of them in school. Aunt Bett was one of them and Granny Ninna was another.

We can all be so thankful for those who held our hand as we grew up.
ImageZanymuse
Nov 1, 2015 10:19 AM CST
Name: Brenda Essig
Rio Dell, CA
I had several great teachers over the years. I know they were great, because they pushed me past one really bad teacher, who had convinced me I was too stupid to learn. For months he sent me home in tears and filled me with frustration and self loathing. It took great teachers several years to get me back on track. They could not undo all of the damage, but they did help repair the wounds and make me see that I could move forward.

Some of those great teachers were in the schools. Others were people who came into my life outside of the classroom. I am grateful for each and every one of them.
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Imagepajonica
Nov 1, 2015 7:07 PM CST
Name: Jon
Japan, Ibaraki
I'd a succession of really awful teachers that seemed to enjoy belittling children in their charge. As a teen I met a guy who taught me self value, a truly remarkable man, an artist musician and philosopher. This man literally changed my life. (Thanks Bert.)

Later in my 20s I worked with a master carpenter who for some reason took the time to teach me some of his skill. {Thanks Don.)

By the time I reached 30 I was confident with a very healthy skill set, none of which were as a result of any teacher or so called schooling.

Fortune favors the brave.
Tickling is no laughing matter.
http://cubits.org/DIYcomfortheserious/
Imagezuzu
Nov 2, 2015 1:31 AM CST
Name: Zuzu
Northern California
zone 9
I had many arrogant teachers, but the worst were the nuns at Sacred Heart in Tokyo. They were the younger daughters of the French nobility, for whom there was no money left for a big dowry, so they had to marry Jesus instead. They obviously did not have the calling and probably were not happy with the way their lives had turned out, teaching other people's children in a country so far from their families and friends in France. Although the school motto was "Noblesse Oblige," they never treated us with even a modicum of courtesy, much less affection.

It was an incredibly snobbish school, and the coldest and most snobbish person there was the Reverend Mother, Mere Robert, who could turn us to stone with one look. The nuns were mothers, not sisters. There was one sister at the convent, a poor Irish woman, but we only saw her mopping the floors. She never was allowed to interact with the students. We were taught the basics, but we also had to take classes in Etiquette, Petit Point, Heraldry, etc. Our grades in Diligence, Composure, Poise, and other such attributes were much more prominent on our report cards than our grades in French, History, Poetry, etc.

We wore navy blue 3-piece suits and white gloves all day. I remember one of my classmates being punished for removing her gloves in the classroom one day. We wore white veils for chapel and also wore the veils all day when we had our frequent 3-day retreats, during which we could not speak a single word aloud. We were allowed to move our lips while we prayed for three days straight, however.

I look back on those days with horror, but I don't recall feeling the slightest bit rebellious at the time. I accepted all of the constraints without any objections. And even though we seemed to waste a lot of time on petit point and other such things, I came to America in the fifth grade and never had to study again until I went to college. Those nuns taught me everything an American child learns in grade school, junior high, and high school.
ImageSharon
Nov 2, 2015 8:51 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
And in spite of it all, they shaped you, molded you, into the strong, beautiful woman you became, Zuzu. Sometimes it's difficult to see any good at all but in the end, we realize our minds have no fear and they continue to grow no matter the painful, idiotic surroundings we found ourselves in. And sometimes it's the bad that teaches us the good.

Ninna would say as she wiped my tears, "Don't cry, Chile, just look at that pretty butterfly, flyin' away to happy places out there jus' waitin' fer you."

And Aunt Bett would say, "Quit yer cryin', Chile, it ain't a-gonna-kill ya."

Two messages, but both pushing me in the same direction.

Life has been strange like that.
We survived anyway and in spite of . . .

Bet you never wore another pair of white gloves, well, maybe to go dancing.
Imagevic
Nov 2, 2015 9:54 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Zuzu - my hubby was educated by nuns as well. He was a bit of a rebel, ok maybe a lot of rebel but I love the story about when he had to stay after school and this is elementary level.

He had to sit for one hour with his hands folded and not move. I don't remember what the infraction was.

After one hour, sister tells him he can leave but he has to close the window first. This is long before air conditioned schools and the windows were propped open with a stick. He is so not happy about having to sit for one hour with his hands folded.

He walked over, jerked the stick out of the window so hard the window banged shut and broke. He just kept on moving and left.

Yes, he had to pay for the window, etc., but some of the stories border on abuse - like how he got smacked with a ruler so many times on his left hand because he was left handed. He's still left-handed.





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ImageKyWoods
Nov 3, 2015 7:39 PM CST
Name: Renée
Northern KY
Thank you for being a great teacher, Sharon!
ImageSharon
Nov 3, 2015 8:00 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Thank you, Renee.

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