I remember building with blocks. Naps on mats. Performing in a Christmas play.
I remember being asked to sit in my teacher’s rocking chair and read Charlotte’s Web to my peers sitting on the carpet while she stepped into the hallway to take a phone call.
I remember phonics workbooks. I remember the day I spelled “of” as “uv” on a spelling test, and I was utterly and abashedly disappointed in myself.
I remember walking to school with my brothers. I remember recess. We played by the trees, we dug in the dirt, we gathered acorns, we listened to Thriller on our “portable” cassette players, and we had pretend weddings.
I remember the Challenger explosion being broadcast on a television on a cart in front of the wall of windows in our cafeteria as we sat and ate lunch.
I remember field days. I remember three-legged races with my best friend, a full head taller than me. We won first place every year.
I remember moving to a new town and a new school at an impressionable age. I remember not having any friends. I remember sobbing at my desk. I remember teachers who showed compassion.
I remember when my teacher read aloud Where the Red Fern Grows and nicknamed me Little Ann.
I remember math facts fluency speed games and wanting to win. I remember the first time I got an F on a quiz. Early Explorers. I remember that was the day I stopped enjoying social studies.
I remember falling asleep in class while my peers recited The Gettysburg Address. We all had to do it. I remember my teacher waking me up with a smile and telling me I could go to recess. I remember the next day, my teacher put a Peanuts comic strip of Lucy falling asleep in school on my desk as a clever way to remind me of that funny thing that happened.
I remember Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? on an Apple IIE and relishing every day it was my assigned day to the computer.
I remember The Westing Game read aloud, which continues to be my favorite book of all time.
I remember my science log. We drew pictures and added captions to help us understand the concepts we were learning. I remember that I was a sketchnoter before sketchnoting was a thing.
I remember having the same classes with the same group of kids through all of grades 7 and 8. And how we developed as peers and friends and foes. I remember electives. I remember choreographing a dance routine to C & C Music Factory’s Everybody Dance Now in eighth grade PE.
I remember writing notes back and forth in a journal with my best friends, sometimes using secret languages, passing them to one another between (during?) classes or delivering notebooks to lockers. #thatwasoursocialmedia
I remember the smells associated with cutting open a frog. And freshly cut grass right before field hockey practice. And catcher’s equipment. And baking pancakes in home economics.
I remember sitting on a sidewalk with a stopwatch, timing cars as they pass to learn s=d/t.
I remember reading plays and comparing/contrasting them to contemporary musicals. I love musicals.
I remember a chemistry teacher telling his class to listen. To look at him, listen to his words, think, and then write notes. Listen.
I remember the Notre Dame fight song, note for note, because our Algebra teacher used it to signal two minutes remaining during test time.
I remember performing in plays and laughter with classmates. I remember journal writing in high school English and making up an entire book I then wrote a book report about and submitted it to a long-term substitute thinking I was the cleverest gal around.
I remember our U.S. Government teacher taking the small handful of students who didn’t ditch school to try to see President Clinton at the local university to a country store, a few miles from school, because he received a tip the President would be stopping there en route home. I remember shaking the hand of, talking to, and being photographed with the President of the United States.
I remember projects and teamwork. I remember my teachers’ smiles. I remember their stories and their laughter. I remember being able to feel which teachers were passionate about working with their students, and those that weren’t so much.
I remember learning how to be a teacher, and falling in love with the craft.
I remember my first class of my own. I remember loving those kids and that experience to infinite amounts and being grateful for the opportunity to serve them.
I remember the good in school because these memories shaped me to become the educator I am today.
These memories don’t happen without teachers.
Here’s to appreciating teachers every day, everywhere.
What do you remember?