As I continue to kick some butt in my classroom, and in my own life, I am thankful for my friends who are coming to my rescue. Thank you, Empress.
This post is written for all the great teachers out there, that go beyond their job description. Teachers like you make a difference every day, to the kind of kid like me, that I used to be. Thank you for changing lives.
English is not my first language: Spanish is. I was in grade school in the early 60's, where a non English speaking child was placed in what was then called "Special C" classes, short for Special Curriculum.
I spent my day in a classroom with all types of kids, with all types of needs. I did a lot of playing, mostly, with Colorforms. I loved Colorforms. I had taught myself to read at home, with my grandmother's Spanish books, but there were no books in Spanish at school, so I colored a lot. A lot.
There were numbers, math. That I could do. Math, I was good at math. You didn't need English to do math. My days were spent with unusual children, with me, at an open floor space--there were no desks--playing with Colorforms, and doing random math, and coloring. I went through coloring pages like popcorn.
Aside from not speaking English as well as the others, l also had odd lunches: papaya, mango, goat cheese. I was odd. No other way to put it. But, also, smart. What I did not know yet, was that I was smart.
My kindergarten teacher was happy with me, quietly in the corner. Ditto for the first grade teacher. I never caused anyone any problems, any extra work, any anything for anybody. I cannot remember the names of my kindergarten or first grade teachers.
Then, in second grade, I met Miss Quill.
I could say her name forever. From the beginning, my new second grade teacher, looked at me. She actually made eye contact with me on a daily basis. Her eyes were green, a hazelly green. I can still picture them. Miss Quill brought in books for me, she brought in math games for me, she read to me. She even came to my house to pick me up to take me to the library, where we'd pick out books in English for me.
She would have me over to her house, where she'd spend time with me doing art projects.
For Christmas, she gave me my very favorite Beatle, in stuffed doll form. It was Paul.
I grow misty eyed when I think of Miss Quill. Of course, the year ended, and I went on to third grade. I don't remember the teacher's name. All would have been the same for me again, with me in a corner, quietly doing math problems except that this time, I started out the school year with a head full of English books that had been read to me, memories of trips to the library, and art projects hanging on the walls of my bedroom.
I was sent for placement testing at the start of the school year, and in one day, I was pulled out of the "Special C" classroom and placed into the gifted/talented classroom. This was the 60's, there were no IEP's, no parent/teacher conference; things were just done. Like that.
I don't know what happened to Miss Quill after second grade. I just can't remember. But, Miss Quill? I love you. Do you know that? I wish I had known to tell you. I'm telling you now, and I'm hoping the universe somehow gets this message to you: I love you.