Friday, June 11, 2010

A "thank you" to my teachers...

While it's still fresh in my mind, I wanted to thank those individuals who I had while in high school. Yesterday afternoon, I had a marvelous conversation with an English teacher from high school as she and several others were planning a celebration.

She is the last of the "original", so to speak. Those who were at our high school back in the 70's. Our chant (dare I say it...twill date me...oh what the heck...) "'78, '78, '78" rang through the halls. We, the Class of 1978, had survived the "storm of '78" and 4 years of high school. At the time, all we wanted was OUT! Give us LIFE...Let us free!

I have to smile now. Actually, yesterday afternoon I laughed out loud as we shared memories of what was then. Since that time I married my best friend from high school, went to college, have ALMOST raised 3 children, 2 of whom graduated from that same high school and one who in a week and a half becomes a junior (how the heck did THAT HAPPEN??? Whole 'nuther blog story....)have become a grandmother and a coach in that very same high school.

As we tossed out names and memories, Ms L asked me: "If you could meet any of them, who would it be?" In a heartbeat I said: "Miss Goodwin." I had two stories attached to that wonderful Social Studies teacher.

1. After taking Field Ecology (thought I might like to go into outdoor education at one time...) our class was going on a camping trip. In the middle of the winter. In New Hampshire. I'd never been camping in my life. Oh...and I was the only girl in the class. The only way the school would let me go was if a female staff memeber agreed to go as well. So, in stepped Miss Goodwin, my history teacher. I don't remember too much about the trip, other than we had to dig out under a log and sleep in the snow (coldest night of my life) but the stars we snowshoed out to see that night in Hancock were amazing, and that I will never forget. That weekend she taught me many things, including sometimes it's vital to put others first. I doubt she considered winter camping the height of fun...but she did it for me and I thank her.

2. As my history teacher, she pushed. I was one of those over-achieving, book smarties. An "A" was the, read, write, make it happen. Well, this was the equivalent of AP as such things didn't exist at the time. That meant that just written work wasn't all there was to it...WHAT????? She pulled me aside and told me: "You have an 'A' on all your written work, BUT, there's more to it than need to talk in class to get an 'A' in here..." That was the epitome of torture for me, give me the 'B' then, 'cause I'm not going to talk. She did. I learned from that moment on that I would have to find a way to go beyond my books. In college I learned: "sit in the front, they at least recognize you that way" which slowly became "talk in class" and my friends and family know, you can't shut me up! Thanks, Miss Goodwin, for the push!

The other person was Mr Aldrich. His gift to me was simple. Read. Read for the love of reading. Read some more. I took Individualized reading with him and literally sat for an hour each day just reading. NO book reports. NO sharing with the class. Just read. It was pure enjoyment. It was the class that allowed me to be what I was: a reader. I loved him for it. I am a reader today because of it. Thank you, Mr Aldrich.

Those two and many other are celebrating tomorrow night and I wish them all the best. Thanks for all you gave us. Thanks for helping to create who I am today. Thanks for being teachers .... of high school students... and probably never knowing the gifts you gave us all. Enjoy your night!

Carrie Warren Whittemore

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