I remember Miss Poll.
Many years have passed since Miss Poll was my kindergarten teacher and the reasons she has stayed in my memory have been obscured by the accumulation of memories I've piled on since. But the mere fact that I recall her name is evidence that Miss Poll made an impression.Perhaps her name lingers because she was the first of a long string of teachers whose imprint added to the total of my "education."
Robert Faughum of the Kansas City Times had some nice things to say about the beginnings of one's educational experience. Wish I could take credit, but Faughum said it first, so I'm left with plagiarism as my only recourse.
Faughum said that "wisdom is not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school."
What did he learn?
"Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you find them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
"When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
"Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup they all die. So do we.
"And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK! Everything you need to know is in there."
Thanks, Faughum, for saying it so nicely.
And thanks, Miss Poll for whatever it was you said and did that etched your name in my memory forever.
I remember some others.
Mrs. Anderson in the fourth grade. Her reputation preceded her. If you got Mrs. Anderson in fourth grade, it was something like the death sentence. Kids talked in hushed whispers about it during the summer months and on the first day of school, those consigned to her class went with fear and trembling to their assigned desks.
Somehow, Mrs. Anderson's reputation exceeded the reality. Her propensity for creating dread lay in expecting us to do the work she assigned and to do it in the time she alloted. She expected us to be on time and sit in the seats she specified unless there was some reason to be out of them. I remember her name.
I remember Miss Matz, who taught Spanish and math in high school. She had been to Mexico and I assumed anyone who had been to Mexico knew just about everything there was to know.
Now, having recently returned from a trip to that fascinating country, I know that just about any addle-pated ninnypoo can go to Mexico. But Miss Matz gained a place in my memory because she had experienced The World and was willing to share that great benefit with us.
I remember Dead-Eye Dick for entirely different reasons. He was a Milquetoasty little man who persistently tapped his upper lip with a pencil and who lived with his parents. We were merciless. He left Lincoln County High School after a year, taking his parents with him.
We expected our teachers to have personalities we could either love or hate. Dead-Eye we could only pity and he didn't last in our school. The sadness is that he probably was stuffed with good things to teach us.
Others I remember more or less well. Some grades are a complete blank.
But, remember them or not, each of my teachers made a difference.
National Teacher Appreciation Day is next week. Gratefully I express my own appreciation.
Thanks, Miss Poll, Mrs. Anderson, Miss Matz thanks even to Dead-Eye, for teaching me something about the importance of being able to inter-relate with others. Thanks for becoming part of me.