First grade. This was the year when we stayed all day and learned to read! I loved first grade! I loved my teacher! Mrs. Russell was the greatest teacher ever.
I was in the 2nd highest reading group, but for only a few days. And then I was moved up (I’m not bragging here, it’s an important part of the story.) Our reading group got to choose our name. What other name would be cooler in 1980 except “The Dukes of Hazzard”!?!? There were five of us in this reading group and we were reunited with Mrs. Russell in 4th grade (see the 4th grade post in a few days). Today I am still friends with three of the other Dukes.
Unfortunately, in the first few weeks of school, Mrs. Russell was injured in an accident that put her out of work for many months. But we got a new teacher, Mrs. Gilmore, and all was lovely in my first grade world!
The most special memory of first grade was at Christmas time. Mrs. Gilmore was still subbing and we were making magnets out of ceramic tiles and decals. I was the only kid in the whole first grade whose parents were divorced. While everyone was allowed to make two magnets – one for mom and one for dad – I was very upset about not having a gift for my new stepdad. Mrs. Gilmore let me stay in at recess to make one for him.
Her understanding and compassion has always stuck with me. It is important to consider the family dynamics of students in your classroom.
Lesson Learned from a 1st grade teacher: What happens at home, comes to school. Everyday. Be aware and be sensitive.