30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 5

Day 5, and I’m on a decent roll. This is as far as I’ve ever really gotten in these challenges. *laughs* This one goes out to my teachers; academic, secondary teachers. Without them, I would be lacking imagination, writing abilities, job ambition, and social skills. I can’t really discuss each and every one of them, so I’ll just share some of my more hysterical memories. It’ll be more like “Elle’s Most Embarrassing Moments”, but it’ll be fun.

Third grade, Stuart Elementary School: Mrs. Smith. I had never seen such red hair! I truly believed that I had the real life version of Mrs. Frizzle from Magic School Bus. She opened my imagination to literature with the Little Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She managed to explain Oliver Twist to me after I failed to understand the novel after three readings that started in first grade. If I’m not mistaken, she was the first one to tell me to write a poem and a short story and applauded my childish attempt. I remember Prairie Day to celebrate Laura Wilder’s birthday, and I wore my Mama’s boots because I didn’t have shoes to go with the event. I also remember Mrs. Smith noticing my boots and telling me that I really got into the celebration as Laura used to “size” herself up by putting on her Pa’s boots.

Fifth-sixth grade, Westover Christian Academy: Mr. Davis. Band… oh man. The stories I could tell of my squeaking and squawking on the clarinet. The man was patient as my Papa! He uncovered my love of music, along with my Papa and Ninong Z (godfather). When he needed a saxophone player, and my hand shot up, he took me under his wing and taught me as much as I could learn as fast as I could absorb. He laughed and accepted my Papa’s challenge of my learning how to play the song “Take 5” on both piano and saxophone at its original tempo in one summer. He acknowledged my persistence and felt horrible when I stepped into a pothole and sprained my ankle during the Christmas parade. (I kept marching until the end and collapsed, screaming in pain for my Papa.) I even remember Mr. Davis teaching me how to get over my stage fright. It wasn’t the “picture everyone in their underwear” trick. All he said was “The room’s empty. It’s just you, your clarinet, and me on the piano. Go.” I took that with me all the way through college… every time I had to get up in front of people to talk. “The room’s empty,” except for that one person I want to talk to.

High school, Tunstall High School & Governor’s School: Mrs. Knick. I hate math; always have, probably always will. However, this lady made math fun as all get out.If you fall asleep in her class, don’t be shocked if you get a board eraser to the back of your head or a fog horn in the ear… oh wait. That was a student’s doing, not hers. I had Mrs. Knick for Algebra I, II, and Geometry, and she somehow made the class fun for me. She was like a second mom to me too, scolding me when I forgot to do my homework and giving me a thumbs up of approval when I succeeded in doing something that I kept saying “I can’t do it”.

High school, Tunstall High School: Mr. Touart. For a history teacher, he was passionate about his subject, and at times, he would throw you off by thinking outside of the box when it came to assignments. He’s the one who actually got me to join the SCAEL team (Scholastic Competition for Academic Excellence League). I was reading Les Miserables for the umphteenth time after I had turned in my quiz (or test), and he caught me and told me to stop by after my classes. I honestly thought I was in trouble and called my dad to let him know that I had to stay after school. I go back after my last class, and Mr. Touart asks me a few questions about my reading habits and my literature experience. He told me about SCAEL, and I jumped at the chance and became one of the youngest team member. Because of SCAEL and Mr. Touart, I was introduced to Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce Et Decorum Est” (poem) and free verse poetry. My path to an English Degree was partially cemented by my experience with SCAEL.

If you ask me, my teachers were my second family. I wouldn’t have gotten to do what I’ve done without them nurturing, spoon feeding, and yes, even shoving information in Literature, History, Math, (and Science) and stuffing my head with all the data they could possibly stuff into me.

Day 5 of my 30 Days of Thanksgiving: Thank you, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Davis, Mrs. Knick, and Mr. Touart for putting up with me in my “BC” years (Before College). You all inspired me and drove me to really follow my heart and challenge my brain. Without your motivations, I’d be such a boring person today.

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