Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The teachers that matter

I realize that I don't often talk about teachers or pre-college math and science education on this blog, but today I'm making an exception.  You see, today is my grandmother's birthday, and it feels only fitting to reflect on one of the most wonderful educator's I have ever known.

My grandmother was my first official teacher.  She home schooled me in Kindergarten, and then started a school that I went to for all of elementary school.  Some of my readers went their as well, and some sent their children there.  I'm sure they'd all agree with me....she was an unforgettable teacher, the kind of person every child should have to guide them early on.

She had high expectations for every child she met, and was one of those people who brought out the best in all the children she encountered.  She believed every child was special, and had a peculiar brand of discipline that helped convey this.  With just a quick look she could make you feel embarrassed that you'd stepped out of line.  "I know you're a good and smart child" her eyes would say "and when you do things like that you don't live up to your potential".  Her nature could calm the rowdiest of boys and the silliest of girls.  She knew the difference between a kid with too much energy and a real behavior problem, and she treated both with kindness.

She always pushed her students to explore a little more, read a longer book, do a harder math problem, go explore the world in new and interesting ways.  She put on the best darn science fairs for little kids I've ever seen.

I wish we had more teachers like my grandmother, people who truly love steering a child to discover new things.  It's not only the best way to teach science, but really any subject.  

So happy birthday Grammie, may your day be filled with joy and thank yous from the many people you've taught over the years....including all 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and 6 great grand children.

Also, maybe next year get call waiting?  This is the second year in a row I have made 3+ attempts to get through with no success.


  1. I have said before, and will say here, that my son Benjamin was in the finest elementary school in the State of NH K-6. Ruth was his teacher in 1st grade, and the stories from that school are still family legends here.

    In particular, the yearly science fairs, which not many schools do any more (and certainly not small schools of less than 100) allowed Ben to become Ben. And anchoring the triad of he, Tim, and Jamie that whomped the older classes in Bible Baseball (including yours, I might say), taught him that his sort of mind might actually be useful for something.


    1. I think Ben's the type of kid she was best for. I can see that other teachers might have tried to fix the quirkiness. Same goes for my brother...he would have been tied to a chair in many classrooms. She was good at just helping kids natural talents come out.

  2. Several years ago I had a restaurant meal with a childhood friend who was in town on business. The conversation went on for hours. Among other things we discussed our elementary school teachers. A fellow customer came up to us to inform us that as she was a teacher,she appreciated hearing the stories about our teachers.