Do you remember your favorite back-to-school outfit from second grade? Or your favorite teacher? She may have been the one with the carpeted reading area in the corner.
My second grade teacher, Yolanda Boyd, had such a rug. It was made of several colorful carpet samples all fastened together. It’s where we, as second graders, constructed our own Indian teepee and we learned of life out West. And, it’s were Mrs. Boyd, with her beautiful dark brown hair in the 1970s stylish bob-cut, sat in a her oak rocking chair and read to us every school day afternoon. “James and the Giant Peach” was my favorite and I remember it vividly.
I recently read that book to my daughters, so they too could experience James Henry Trotter and the magical bugs he met inside the enormous peach. That same rocking chair is was where she was sitting when she told us it was okay to cry when we read how “Old Yeller” died.
Mrs. Boyd taught us a little about life that year. I remember a couple of boys who learned the consequences of bad behavior. And, a few of us girls learned the disappointment and drama of what we thought then was “true love.”
Curriculum and programming for youngsters has changed so much since my own school days. And, in some ways, the children have changed. So much more is demanded of their time, and expected in their state assessment scores. Many of us, as parents, try to keep them busy in activities outside school hours, giving them less time to get in trouble, and we put much effort forth to make them well-rounded.
Although the stress and expectations put upon our teachers is different, from what I have witnessed, the heart of our local teachers in the classroom is unchanging. I see it in my own daughters’ school. Their teachers are passionate about their students and teaching, and helping children to become responsible, productive adults.
And, shouldn’t that be a goal for each of us? I desperately seek to instill in my own daughters the love of reading and the thrill of being able to grasp knowledge. I insist they complete their homework, and offer them all the love and support any child would ever need. And, as parents, we strive to make them responsible for the actions.
I realize however that all children don’t have the same opportunities afforded to others. Some may have a Mrs. Boyd in their classroom, but no support at home.
But none of us should ever pass on an opportunity to help a child. Our children are the future, and our community will soon reap what we are sowing.
Melody Brunson, 47, has a second grader and third grader enrolled at Barr-Reeve. She and her husband have a heart for children, and surely would have had a houseful if their biological clocks wouldn’t have slowed them down.