It's been a LONG time since I was in public school. I can't remember the names of many of my teachers (without REALLy straining my poor brain) -- but there are some that I will never forget, who made a direct impact on me -- both good and bad. I really believe teaching is a "calling".
We were driving by my grandchildren, Alex and Mikey's old school - Vickery Meadows. Alex shudders everytime we drive by and usually comments - "I'm glad I NEVER have to go to that horrible school again!" The other night as we drove by, Alex made that statement. Mikey, in a small voice, said, "I had two wonderful years there....", and started crying. How is it that two siblings have such dramatic different experiences at the same school? It all boils down to the teachers they had.
Alex's 3rd grade experience was a nightmare. Her teacher, Ms. Seibens, should never be allowed around anyone under the age of 18 -- and certainly not in a teaching enviroment! She allowed the entire class to ostrasize and shun Alex - for the entire year. Her response when we brought it up in one of the many meetings that year was, "She brought it all on herself - she told the other girls she was beautiful." Rather than using that as a teaching experience and maybe sitting down with Alex and suggesting she not tell other girls she was beautiful, Seibens sat back and watched her sink lower and lower in her self-esteem. The only time this teacher came to the rescue was when the culprits extorted money from Alex -- promising they would be her friend if she would give all of them money for chips. The teacher did get monies back (but I suspect she did that because the money given away was to pay for school pictures, and we told her there was no more money left to replace what was taken).
Mikey's teacher, Ms. Farraby, should be named Teacher of the Year. His first year in school (Kindergarden) was very rocky (due to his actually being too immature to have started in the first place - his birthday was July 17th and he just was not ready). A bit#*# of a school counselor immediately labeled him as autistic and learning disabled - and sent him through a battery of tests, including drawing blood, mri's and a host of others. All through that year, Ms. Farraby stood by Mikey and he absolutely adored her. Lisa had him repeat Kindergarden the next year and he had Ms Farraby again. With that extra year to mature, he became a model student -- making the A honor roll and becoming a leader in the class. The counselor, in spite of the complete turnaround -- still insisted that her diagnosis of the year before was correct, and tried her best to have him transferred to a special ed class! Ms. Farraby stood by this little boy and protected him from both the counsel and principal.
As we were driving by that night - Alex said, "Mikey, you are crying because Ms. Farraby was a good teacher." Mikey immediately piped up, "NO! She was not just a teacher -- She was like a MOTHER!" - and he started sobbing and sobbing. That, my friends, is what I believe the goal of all teachers of young children should strive for.
The other day I stopped by Vickery Meadows to see Ms. Farraby after school. She was so glad to see me. She told me that she was going to teach 2nd grade next year and Mikey could be in her class. I had to tell her that he had moved and was going to Duncanville now. I then told her about what he had said the other night. Tears started falling. She gave me her address and wants Mikey to write her and send her pictures and she will write him back.
Two teachers -- both will never be forgotten by these two kids. But one will forever be loved and adored (and every teacher that follows will be measured against her) -- and the other will be despised.