Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)
TITLE: Teachers I Loved
By Nell Berry
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Word count: 552
I once had a teacher who took very personal interest in me and my sisters. She was a beautiful lady of around thirty years old. She had beautiful dark brown or black hair. It is hard to tell when hair is brown or black. To me it was black. When I was young everyone said I had black hair, but in my own opinion it was dark brown. So for arguments sake we will say she had dark brown hair. Her name was Rebecca Cato. I loved Miss Cato. She took more interest in me than any teacher I was ever privileged to be taught by.
One weekend Miss Cato took me, my older sister Vi and my sister Dorothy who was five years older than me, to her home for the weekend. She lived with her parents in an old farm house. The thing I remember most vividly was the way she took care of me. She washed and curled my hair. I was only about six or seven years old at the time and she was just a wonderful teacher.
We all loved Miss Cato. The next school year after this occurrence we were very disappointed when we learned she would not be back the following year. I have not seen her since she left at the end of the school year and have never heard anything about her.
The following year we had a teacher whose name was Leatha Collins. She was more out going than Miss Cato who was a very quiet spoken lady. Leatha was younger than Miss Cato and my sisters and I were very close to her also. She also took us to her home for a weekend. She lived on a farm with her parents and a brother. I remember most the food we had to eat. For breakfast we had fried potatoes, ham and eggs and biscuits and gravy which was very unusual for us because we were very poor and normally had oatmeal or cornmeal mush for breakfast. Momma would cook the cornmeal mush the night before and let it set, then slice it and fry it in bacon grease, if we had bacon or lard. Then we would have it with syrup on it. It was pretty good. But the ham and eggs, biscuits and gravy and fried potatoes were much better.
I remember one morning, since there was no indoor plumbing or even an outhouse, Leatha’s brother Claude went out to do his morning business and a short time later he came back in the house and he was madder than an old wet hen. Someone asked him what was wrong and he said, “The da-- leaf broke through.” Of course we laughed so hard because we all understood what he was talking about.
Those were the two most memorable teachers I had the privilege of being acquainted with.
Then of course my children’s teachers were pretty memorable also. My oldest daughter came home from school one day and she was so upset. I asked her what was wrong and she said, “Miss Green does not like me. I hate her. I want to change teachers.”
Well of course, there was no way she could change teachers. So, I tried to calm her down.
“Why don’t you just try to be as nice to her as you can. There are sometimes extenuating circumstances that make people irritable.” I wanted her to learn from this experience so I just waited for a few days to see what the result would be.
Soon my daughter, Denise came home from school and she was in a nicer mood. I said,
“What happened with your teacher? Did you find out anything that would cause her to be so unhappy?”
“You were right, Mom,” she responded. “I found out Miss Green has an invalid husband at home. She has to go home at lunch time and prepare his lunch for him and take care of his needs. That is why she is so irritable.”
So, the lesson to be learned is that we should always give the other person the benefit of a doubt. Don’t automatically judge someone who is not so sweet or not so affable to be a horses’s patoot till you know the reason for their unkind words and actions.
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