Teaching is a noble profession. I have a tremendous amount of respect for teachers since they voluntarily take on the task of educating our children. They are substantially undervalued in our society and it’s quite maddening. I had some great teachers over the years and it’s intriguing what sticks with you about each of them in present day. Let me recap grades 1-6 as best as I can. I would say these were the very important formative years of my life. When I think back about my childhood, many of my best memories took place during these pre-teen years. For all those teachers out there, thank you for all your hard work!
Kindergarten: Mrs. Bellamy –> not so nice to me as I spent much time in the hall for disciplinary reasons and students only attended for half a day. We made some pottery and felt the fire of the kiln. Oh, the orange and yellow carpet in our classroom was très uncomfortable. Outside of these few things, I don’t remember much about kindergarten.
First grade: Mr. Klein –> I loved him and recall a couple field trips we made to the city that school year. I kissed my first girl, Shannon, in this grade and still recall the exact location of the embrace and her childhood phone number. I attempted to learn the recorder and failed miserably in first grade.
Second grade: Ms. Divoky –> I recall her being quite tall and much older than other teachers. I was the spelling bee champ in our class and was rewarded with a bucket of Almond Roca. My mom made her first appearance at my school as The Picture Lady. This gave me celebrity status whenever my mom gave her art presentations. Some kid named Jon Boucher was a real pain in the ass though.
Third grade: Mrs. Palmer –> A teacher whose limits were tested often. We had a very difficult student, Chad, in our class who was routinely in shouting matches with our teacher. The principal, Mr. Hubbard, paid frequent visits to our classroom, dragging out said troubled student several times. A marvelous teacher with nerves of steel she was. Probably one of my best grade school teachers… even with the distractions. Penpals rock!
Grade Four: Ms. Namba –> I must have done something right in third grade because I was placed into a fourth/fifth grade mixed class. Ms. Namba was a very quiet teacher who had a talent for keeping kids in order. We did a lot of reading aloud that year. Somehow I set some school record for a 12 minute run/walk, my older brother was the previous record holder.
Grade Five: Mr. Cudmore –> After much thinking I finally remembered my teacher’s name. I was "going out" with a girl named Aimee and distinctly remember being terrified to dial the final digit of her home phone. Sadly, I recall struggling with my reading comprehension skills in fifth grade and getting placed into a lower level reading class. We did spend three days at a camp a couple hours north of Seattle towards the end of the school year. The three days were spent learning outside of a classroom and was easily the highlight of fifth grade. It was a huge deal and also the first time I laid eyes on a girl known only as my first true crush, Julia.
Grade Six: Mr. Rhoades –> this year really stands out compared to others. I can still recall so much about sixth grade. We actually had two teachers. My assigned teacher was absent nearly two thirds of the year for health issues. Thankfully in his absence Mr. Rhodes taught us some really great stuff. We had a mock stock market where we’d gain or lose money depending on the actual stock market’s performance. I poured my money into Colleco, the makers of Cabbage Patch Dolls. I had enough money saved I was able to afford a full-sized monkey puppet at our mock auction. Yes, I still own the puppet today. We also acted out Romeo and Juliet in sixth grade. I played the affable Mercutio, memorizing all my lines (some I still remember… Tybalt, you rat catcher.. a plague on both of your houses) and had an crush on the girl playing Juliet. My mom helped me make my costume and I recall being so proud of my rolled up pants. True to life, my sword broke in half during the pivotal death scene. Oy.
TODAY’S RULED OUT BABY NAMES: Marianne, Amanda, Amy, Janet, Leslie, and Rachel.