Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

October 11, 2006

Stunned

My fourth grade teacher died.

Shocked and saddened doesn't even begin to cover it. First of all, she was only 47. 47! (That means when I had her she was only 31.)

I've sat here for an indetermineable amount of time trying to put into words how I felt about this woman. There really aren't words. I've had wonderful teachers in my life, but there are three that stick with me to this day. Teachers I think about from time to time and wonder where they are and how they're doing. One is my mother. One is my high school Spanish teacher. The last is Miss Bartlett. Miss Bartlett was special.

Even in fourth grade, I was the fat kid. She was a larger woman too. Fourth grade was my first stint with W.W. - one of many diets in my life. There was no possible way for me to drink all the water the program required at home. Some of it had to be done at school. She let me bring a water bottle to school and leave it at my desk. I can still remember her asking me before lunch or recess how much water I had had that day. I'll never forget the day she showed me her W.W. cup that was sitting hidden in her desk. Finally, someone besides my mom that understood.

I'm angry at myself because I saw her in the store a few weeks ago and instead of being brave and talking to her, I just walked on. I had the chance to thank her for making me want to be a teacher and I missed it! I'll be kicking myself for that for years. I know better than that. I will never make the same mistake again.

We need more teachers like Miss Bartlett. More importantly, we need more people like Miss Bartlett.

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