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Posts Tagged ‘first grade’

I’ve loved my teachers since I started kindergarten way back in the olden days. I can remember each one very vividly, which should scare some of us. Teachers are such a huge influence in the lives of our kids – mostly for good, occasionally one or two not so good. For the most part I have great memories of good teachers who loved their students and were dedicated to their calling of training up the next leaders of our society.

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First day of school, some unknown year, standing in the middle of the road

 

In first grade, my original teacher broke her leg right before the school year began so we had Mrs. Highland as our substitute teacher for over half the year. I loved Mrs. Highland. And she obviously loved her students. Because I started my “school life” with her, she became the next most important female in my life (after my mom). I’m so grateful I had that positive reinforcement in my young life. Because I could read before I got to first grade and often finished assignments before others, Mrs. Highland asked if I would like to help some of the other students occasionally. I guess I did okay, because she told my mom that “Kris should become a teacher.” I was six – not really thinking about my life’s calling at that time in my life. I think back then I wanted to grow up to be a waitress.

But Mrs. Highland was attuned to her students so well that she saw talents and giftings in her little group of six-year-olds…way before others were even looking. She encouraged us to try harder and go beyond our assignment. When we were concentrating on learning 2 + 2, she was seeing future city leaders and attorneys. While we sounded out our Dick and Jane Readers, she was envisioning teachers and doctors and priests. She gave us resources that pushed our little six-year-old minds to dream big, to see ourselves for the valuable human beings we were…even in first grade.

 

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The youngest class picture I could locate. I’m top row, second from the right.

My home town is a small village in northern Illinois with a small school of kindergarten through high school encompassed in one building. As first graders, we often saw and interacted with high school students so we had opportunity to dream about being like the “big kids.” Mrs. Highland already saw us as “big kids” and beyond.

 

I missed Mrs. Highland for many years after I left first grade, though I was able to see her often. She was always the kindest and most encouraging woman, even when I finally reached “big kid” status. And I’ll never forget her “prophecy” over me – I didn’t become an officially trained and certified school teacher, but I’ve been teaching my whole life…tutoring other students in high school and college, home schooling my own two children, teaching women’s classes and now privately tutoring elementary, high school and adult students.

Mrs. Highland saw something in me when I was six years old. She looked for the gifts each of her students possessed, even if those talents weren’t finely tuned or sophisticated. I want to be able to do that with my kids…all of them. Each student I tutor becomes one of my kids. Each one is special and unique in their own gifts and talents. Some are naturally outgoing and loaded with personality. Others are quieter, shy in the presence of me as a stranger. But I remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Highland, and how much she encouraged me to reach farther, that nothing is impossible, no matter how old you are.

When I grow up, I want to be just like Mrs. Highland.

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Journaling

I don’t remember a time that I didn’t like writing. In first grade I loved writing my whole name across the top of my paper: Kristine Gail McCullough. I loved that my name was long so I had to use all the space across from left to right to fit it all in. And I had the best letters! More capital letters than anyone else in my class. Then my teacher told me I didn’t need to write the whole thing. It was taking too long and my hand was cramping by the end of the day. I think I was grasping those big fat pencils too tightly.

So I shortened my name to “Kris” (but I still have an awesome amount of capital letters thanks to marrying my own Mr. McGarvey). But my love of writing continues.My 40-day Lenten addition today is putting words on paper, everyday, in some form. I have a lovely old-style composition book (see picture above – don’t you just love a brand new notebook!) and the desire to write, whatever comes into my head.

Today I wrote some Scripture and took off on the theme of fearing the Lord. But tomorrow may be a recipe, or a prayer, or a story, or a memory. The important thing for me is the discipline of putting thoughts on lined paper. It’s a lost art, really. We think spewing stuff in that “What’s On Your Mind?” box at the top of our Facebook newsfeed is sufficient. Most of the time I write something there in response to someone else’s spewing and if I’m wise, I delete it before posting. The beauty of my little comp book is the privacy I have to say whatever I want, because only my eyes will ever see it. Oh yes – God will see it too. But I’m not afraid to be angry, or defiant, or sad…God isn’t afraid of my thoughts. Be honest – He knows us better than we know ourselves. And maybe, just maybe, He has a few words for me to write down as well.

So get yourself a brand, spanking new notebook and start writing…right now!

 

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