Friday, August 20, 2010

Ms. Neal and the Easter Bunny Basket

Here's my Flashback  Friday...

I'm a big reminisce-er.  As my little one begins his long sojourn in education (or plays puzzles and eats snack with other two year olds), I'm reminded of my wild elementary school days.  I'm sure they (the college of education) tell young elementary teachers that they must scare motormouths into compliance. I once was a motormouth, but the system broke me. I know that is harsh, and I love teachers (and I am one), but it seems to me that all my primary school teachers wanted me to sit down and hush up.  I didn't get my "All A" hat in third grade because Ms. Ford gave me a C in conduct.  Because I talked in line.  I'm working through it.

Which brings me to Ms. Neal.  My first grade teacher.  Me: pale little white girl.  Scared during the meet and greet time at big church.  Ms. Neal: large and in charge.  Gregarious, single, black lady (is it okay not to say African American?  'cause I don't think Ms. Neal would mind).  Now, as a first grade teacher, I know Ms. Neal was kind and patient.  But I have three strong memories of her.  One was when I told my mom that it was MISS Neal, not MISSUS Neal.  That was important to her.  Second, I still have my Christmas ornament, a picture of me and Ms. Neal, framed in green felt, that still hangs on my parents' tree each year. 
But the stand out memory is the bunny basket.

For some reason, I did not want to bring in a empty, 2 gallon milk jug to cover with pink cotton balls for some Easter celebration.  Day after day passed and I did not bring in my bunny jug.  Finally, Ms. Neal made me STAY BACK from recess to decorate a jug she provided.  I don't know why this stays with me.  Maybe bunny jugs are a 1st grade standard.  A rite of passage.  I don't know.  This was my first foray into getting on the teacher's list.  A rebel at six. 

I'm a rule follower.  Just don't make me craft.  Unless you're MISS Neal.

Sending lots of love and pink cotton balls wishes out there to all the hard-working, grief-taking, under-paid, under-appreciated, but very needed and truly heroic teachers.  May your tribe increase.

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