Mrs. Form, 3rd Grade, circa 1989. She took us to get ice cream when we learned our multiplication tables. We earned paperclips to cash in at her store. She let us get a hamster as a class pet. She made us feel like we were the sun, the moon, and the stars – her stars. She’s the reason I wanted to be a teacher.
I’m lucky that she lives in my parents’ neighborhood, with her husband who was the best swim meet starter a summer league has ever known. I get to see her sometimes; she still has the same great laugh and twinkly smile. She knows Abigail. And I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, there’s a whole community who loves her. She’s special.
I wanted to be that kind of teacher. Someone who made her students feel extra special. The kind of teacher that you run into years later at the grocery store who can’t believe how much you’ve grown, and still remembers your name and something you liked. I wanted to be there to cheer on my former students at their high school graduations.
I was lucky to be plopped down in a great community for a short time, six years. I worked in a great school. I loved the teachers, students, and families there. I got to feel what it was like to see a familiar last name on my class roster when I found out I was teaching brothers and sisters of former students. I had some of those “Oh my gosh!” moments when students that had moved on to middle and even high school came back to see me.
And then we moved and it was time for me to start down another path in my life. I keep in touch through Facebook with some of the teachers and families. Posts they make celebrating snow days and successful plays and incredible turnouts at Book Fairs and Jump Rope for Heart have me celebrating right along with them. Hearing about Spelling Bee winners and JV Soccer players makes my day.
But today. Today I got to be there again. It’s Read Across America Day. My incredibly clever and creative former colleague had the awesome idea to make it literally – Read ACROSS America. I got to read Green Eggs and Ham from an iPad in Oregon to a 4th grade class in Virginia via Facetime. It made my day to see some of my old students, ones I had almost 2 years ago as second graders. It was a joy and an honor.
I wish I was still there – to go to sports games and dance recitals and maybe even a graduation in a few years. The kids I’ve taught are part of my starry sky and it thrills me to see them shine. I hope they know that even though I am here, I am still there, always.