Friday, April 15, 2005

A Good Crop.

I had a Miss Levy. Only she was a Mrs. Carmen. Other teachers – and my family – had commented on my reading skills, but she was the first one to make me believe that I could string my own words together. The very last thing she ever said to me was to keep writing. And then she gave me a hug that was so tight it was almost painful.

I hugged her back and then walked out of Greenfield Union Elementary School forever. And I vowed to keep my promise to keep writing – and then didn’t. Teachers tell you a lot of things, but they don’t tell you what to do with a blank sheet of paper. (Oh, my diary was easy - as a pre-teen I was brimming with angsty thoughts.)

Then there was my handwriting. It was bad. My mother hated it and would make me practice in a notebook and compare my sloppy letters to her “pretty” letters. She told me I had the handwriting of a “retard.” I felt shame. Everybody knew, even then, that handwriting was unique and said a lot about the person. Apparently I was deficient.

I didn’t want to write anything and could take no joy in looking at my own words. (To this day, when having to send her a card, I have a mini-panic attack when spelling my name.) Homework became tough. All my language skills were directed towards arguments and discussions. Thank God she’d never made fun of my voice or I would probably be completely mute.

As much as I complain about computers, I would not even consider writing if I had to write longhand. There was something wondrous about seeing a locked door opening; I could compose words and argue with whole new groups of people. Oh, and maybe I could write a few stories. Well, whaddaya know?

But Mrs. Carmen was the first person who made me take pride in my words: even if that pride got derailed for a while. She wasn’t as cool as Mrs. Zack, who would wear short skirts and too much perfume, and let us sing disco songs for a half-an-hour each day. She wasn’t as scary as the gym teacher who looked like Kojak. She didn’t wear bright clothes like the art teacher, or use moisturizer on her hands to excess like the music teacher. She certainly wasn’t mean like Mrs. Romanski - the math teacher from hell- with her red hair in a tight knot and her pinched mouth. What Mrs. Carmen was, what all teachers should be, is a planter of good seeds.

You can plant in a child’s mind flowers or you can plant weeds. You can give them the materials to plant a garden or leave them with only a wasteland. Teachers and parents should always plant good seeds, and spread just enough manure for something extraordinary to grow...

Just ‘cause I said so, and it’s my blog.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Sony MP3
Adopt your own useless blob! Blogwise - blog directory Who Links Here Listed on 
BlogShares Get Firefox!
Click on the graphic to vote for this
page as a Starting Point Hot Site.

Marriage is love.
Animal of the Day
Animal of the day by TheWebsiteOfEverything