So A few Days ago I was waiting out side my nephews school, He is usually flying out of that school like a bat out of hell and I have to cloths line him to avoid him running strait into the road... But this day he was taking his good old time... I noticed a teacher, Mrs. Brown she was eying me... like... I know this lady... eying me... I having the memory that I have I remembered her from Elem. school she was a 1st grade teacher not mine just one of the other teachers. I said "Hello Mrs. Brown" she nodded and smiled. Then when my nephew came out of the building she said " Lucas who is this lady? Lucas said "this is my Aunt Rachel" As he tugged on my cloths to try and pull me away from the school and towards the parking lot.
I asked Mrs. Brown if my most favorite teacher Miss Barken still worked there at that school... she said "Yes", with a smile then said "this will be her last year, she's retiring." "Oh" I said, "I'll have to make it up here to wish her fair well." I hadn't seen her since I did Kindergarten observations like 8 years ago and then it was only briefly just a fast Hi, how are things in a passing moment.
I feel the need to tell you how very important this women was. She was a fantastic teacher. I'm going to go out on a limb here and let you in on something that not many ppl in my adult life know she was my special education teacher, my Learning Disabilities teacher... But she was more then that to me, she was someone I looked up to some one I knew cared deeply for me. I sat in her class room for 3 yrs starting in 3rd grade and all through 4th and 5th. going between my regular classes back and forth every day. I watched how she helped each and every child that was in her class room how she always went that extra mile for them giving hugs and smiles to lift sprites and singing songs and even rapping... as corny as that sounds... she was fantastic!
I wanted to tell her how much she meant to me and how I think she helped make me into who I am today. She was the most positive influence in my life during those years it was right after my folks got a divorce. Things just weren't pretty for me, She made the grey skies clear up!
I wanted to let her know that I never forgot anything ever... I never forgot that she loved chocolate, and she had all the sweet fruit smelling markers in the world in a cup on her desk, I never forgot all the times she reminded me that I could be what ever I wanted in life and that having a disability didn't mean I wasn't smart. I needed reminded of that alot for some reason kids reminded me all the time that I was in the sped classes and when your a kid those words can hurt. She made me spelling tapes were she would spell out all twenty of my words on a tape recorder 3 times each every week she made me those tapes. She made those tapes for each student we were all on different levels. I'll never forget that she took me to the ballet during the summer and to a fancy dinner that I had to wear a dress to. She took me to see a movie too at the theater, things like that didn't happen in my house with my mom we didn't have money for those sorts of things. She hooked me up with a pen pal too whose name was the same as mine and we were the same age. Fun times.
She nurtured my love for reading and challenged me to read all the time. In Fifth grade I read the most books out of any other 5th grader in the school. She lent me her copies Anne of Green Gables and A Blue Eyed Daisy which is still on my all time favorite list. For a kid who couldn't spell to save her life I could read like no other and by the time I was in the 6th grade I was reading things like Steven King.. and Poe. I don't know if she would have approved that reading material but she wasn't my teacher anymore and I didn't read that stuff at school anyway only at home. At school I read what was suggested.
As a rebelling teenager I was having issues in my freshmen year. My mother called the BOE and asked if they could get a message to Miss Barken ...My mother knew that this teacher had an effect on me so thought Miss Barken might tutor me for a small fee. And she did. Weekly she would come over and help me with some homework and teach me studying methods. At this point in my life I was a bitter, hateful, grungy pot smoking, teenager, who hated anything that had to do with adults and conforming... So one day I decided to tell her that I didn't want her to help me out any more. My mom was at work so she couldn't stop me so I just said I didn't want to be tutored any more. Miss Barken got into her teal blue car and drove away as I sat perched on the kitchen window sill smoking a Marlboro menthol. I thought for a moment that I may have hurt her feelings but at that time I didn't really care.
I care now though and feel horrible about it. I wanted her to know how fantastic she was. So I got her a card, and I wrote her a letter and personally delivered it to her class room at the end of the day on Friday. You should have seen her face when I walked through the door... She still looks the same minus the hair...Perms were in way back then...thank goodness they aren't now her hair is still the same soft golden color and she still has the same huge smile and warm eyes... Her hug felt the same, safe and loving, Her voice was the same as well. She was setting at a half circle table in a nearly empty room just two children sat with her at that table. (the others were in gym) She teaches regular classes now, but those two children setting at the table they needed something...they needed what she was giving...they needed that lift, that extra mile, that push, that smile and those hugs they needed her!