I am drinking morning coffee from a cup that has this on it: "A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, the kind of car I drove…..but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." That applies to teachers, and parents, and others who work with children. I really appreciated Jack Zaleski’s essay on Sunday January 14 about "let teachers teach" or something to that effect. He nailed it over and over again re. modern times in education. I also thought about one incident when I realized that I had had an effect on a child…quite a few years ago, a student named Becky came into the elementary library after school one day, smiling and asking if I remembered her. Of course I did remember her, although she had not been a student in our school after her kindergarten year (she went to a private elementary school nearby) and re-joined our district when she entered junior high school. What she wanted that afternoon was a book she remembered from kindergarten. She said she had an assignment in Pre-College English, that involved the use of a childrens’ fairytale or folktake books and she wanted "that book you read us when I was in kindergarten about the little boy with the big long name." I knew immediately that she meant "Tikki Tikki Tembo", a Chinese folk tale that I read every year to the kindergarteners because it was so good! (Tikki Tikki Tembo, no-sah-rembo, pari-vari- ruchi- pip- peri- pembo" ) We found a copy of the book, chatted some more, and then Becky went on her way and I pondered her remembering a book I read from her year in kindergarten. It made what I did on a daily basis more meaningful….reading aloud to the primaries was a wonderful part of my work and I realized that it was meaningful to those little ones also. Many times as those little students advanced in the grades, they would come and ask for books by title or even by author and I knew that teachers were having a positive effect, not only on their reading skills, but on their growing discrimination for choosing books they wanted to read. I think that every teacher, especially elementary ones, has at least one experience of a student returning to give them postive feedback, even if the student does not realize what it is they are giving. It is a wonderful thing to have happen! I could blog on forever about teachers I remember and why I remember them. Miss Mickelson, my first grade teacher, will never be gone from my mind as long as I still "have all my marbles". She was far more than a teacher—-she was like a mother to us little scared first graders…she did things for us that we will never forget, not just teaching us to read and write and do some simple "arithmetic" (how’s that for an age-revealing term??) We had a playhouse in our first grade room….big enough to go inside and play house! It had furniture..little doll beds, cups, dishes, everything a first grader’s "house" needed. She allowed a student’s dog (Jiggs) to be our classroom dog all year because Jiggs always followed Dennis to school in the morning. Nobody had heard of leash laws in our tiny town. It was too cold for Jiggs to stay outside all day (like Mary’s patient lamb)…Jiggs lay comfortably under the blackboard most days. I can’t remember what happened when we went to lunch—he must have gone out for awhile at recess but he was always there when we got ready to go home, after singing a hymn to end the day…imagine that…"Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh..shadows of the evening, creep across the sky". We made butter by shaking a glass jar with cream from the Friday’s Dairy farm just outside of town. As we shook (how we did not drop that glass jar I will never understand) and as we shook, we sang, "Come butter, come! Come butter come! Johnny’s at the garden gate, waiting for a butter cake, come butter come!" I sang it years later to a class of kindergarteners (in my "adult school") who were shaking another glass jar of cream , so many years after I had done it as a first grader. I remember sharing our first grade butter with the second graders when we all had buttered graham crackers together with our afternoon milk. We had a sandbox inside our classroom and turned it into a Dutch village in March, complete with long grass (we planted oats and watered the crop each day til we had lush green grass growing on our Dutch farm. Miss Olsgaard, our third grade teacher, memorably read aloud, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" .It must have been an abridged childrens’ version but oh, how we waited for that time after recess when she would read to us!! Miss Olson in grade four had us assigned to jobs we did in the classroom but the coveted one was "Hectograph Helper". Teachers made copies of papers on a cookie sheet filled with a mysterious substance called "hectograph jelly". When they wrote with the special purple hectograph pencil on the paper to copy, pressed it on the hectograph jelly…it would reproduce many copies of purple- lettered magical "work sheets". We girls would "kill" to be the hectograph helper because it meant staying after school making copies of tomorrow’s worksheets. Some of us were even crafty enought to notice what we would be working on the next day and bone up a bit that night at home!!! Miss Lorentzen, our grade 6 teachers would get all worked up when the girls came in from recess with our brown, ribbed cotton "long stockings" wet clear up to the knees from frolicking in wet snow or puddles. Then she made us take them off in the "cloakroom" and hang them on the steam radiators to dry. I can still smell the odor of those brown stockings! It was not a nice odor in a lot of cases. But…this meant that we could clump around for the afternoon in our brown oxfords, bare-legged, metal garters banging our thighs….just like the hallowed high school girls did …all day, brown-stockingless. We felt so grown up without our brown stockings on. I know we deliberately got our stockings wet so we could do this in the afternoon. I remember plotting how to get our stockings as wet as possible with the other girls. The beginning of school years are as formative as your life at home, until you went off to school. Parents are the most important teachers in any child’s life. We just go on to our other teachers later. God bless them all!!!!