Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
This prompt was an easy one for me. I will never forget third grade. If my teacher was still living I would go back to her and thank her.
Third grade, how old was I back then? Maybe around 8 or 9? I was spreading my wings, not my angel wings. The wings between my lips. Talking, this is what I learned to do so well. I talked any chance I had.
I talked during class when I should have been quiet. I talked by answering too many questions the teacher was asking, not always knowing the answers. You could not shut me up!
I can remember my grandma, by the way, Happy Birthday Grandma, today you are 96! Anyways, grandma used to love to hear me talk, she would shine the spotlight on me by telling my mom, look she does have a mouth. She is talking. I guess from what I had been told and from what my memory tells me, I used to be very shy.
I shook my head quite often for answering. I didn’t say much at all. I was very quiet and even played quietly. Something happened and I did a turn-a-bout.
My teacher must have gotten tired of me interrupting class and having to reprimand me so much that one day when everyone else got to go to mid day recess, I was asked to remain behind. I don’t remember being afraid, but I bet I was.
After the last student left the room, she called me up to her desk. I remember her pulling this long nylon thingy out of her desk drawer. She held it up. It seemed to be it was longer than her arm’s length.
She explained to me that she had exhausted every means to have me quiet. She explained to me about being rude, speaking when others are talking. Raising my hand, asking for permission was a more democratic way to speaking.
She told me how proud she was of me for opening the buds on the roses, but there was a time and place for everything. She taught me that being a listener was a much better asset than being a talker.
She called me over to stand by her. When I was next to her she asked me to turn my back to her. I did as I was told. She took a large safety-pin and she pinned this nylon thingy to the back of my shirt.
She turned me around and said that this was a reminder. This would help me to think before speaking. To raise my hand first to talk. She said that when I thought about telling on someone, which back then was called a tattle tail, I would feel the long tail pinned on me and think twice.
To this day I will never forget the valuable lesson she taught me. Respect and being polite to others. Letting others voice their thoughts completely before voicing my own. I remember the kids laughing at me periodically through the day, but that vanished when the next exciting thing happened in class.
I still try hard to remember my manners today. I wait and listen to what you have to say. I don’t chatter a lot, but do love to talk. A few years back I even took a class in college for public speaking. I learned to love it. It was a chance for me to speak. To have the floor be my audience for three minutes.
Now it has been a while and I am once again shy speaking in front of others. An opportunity has risen where I could be back on that speaking stage again. With encouragement of so many friends on here, I have decided to speak to an audience once again where I will be reading one of my short stories or poems.
Life moves on, but most of our memories remain with us. The memory of this class hopefully remains fresh for years to come. People are important. Whether they are friends, or business associates or family. Respect is the biggest gift we can give to another human. Thank-you third grade teacher for teaching me such valuable life lessons.
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