Pride and Patience
Cassie was walking through a park with her young son when she stopped to tell me about a teacher who made a lasting impact on her life. Her green eyes lit up as she remembered her kindergarten teacher. She expressed a desire for her young son to have the same kind of first school experience as she had with Mrs. Gibbs.
I walked into my kindergarten classroom and immediately noticed my name (the one word I could read) written on my desk, my cubby and my coat hook. I loved finding my name around the room, and I knew right away that I belonged in Mrs. Gibb’s class. I soon learned to write my name, and because the names of classmates were so prominently displayed, I learned to write my friends’ names, too. I wrote our names in paint on big pieces of paper and on sidewalks with big pieces of chalk. I was so proud when I wrote my classmates’ names on each of their Valentine cards and signed each card myself.
One spring day, we wrote our names on big, Styrofoam cups. We filled each cup with rich, brown soil and carefully added a bean seed. Mrs. Gibbs lined the cups up in the window sill. Every morning, I ran into the classroom to find the cup with my name. It seemed like forever, but one day I peeked in to find a tiny sprout. I still remember that cup with my name on the outside and a tall, green bean plant growing inside.
Mrs. Gibbs filled my kindergarten days with play and projects, and she taught me to proudly put my name on my work. I was always so excited to bring home a painting, a paper or a bean plant with my name written on it. Even now, I try to make sure the work I do is worthy of my name.
Cassie’s story illustrates the importance of early school experiences. Teachers who build competence, confidence and excitement for learning lay a strong foundation for grade school and beyond. Mrs. Gibbs gave Cassie the chance to feel proud of her name and the work attached to it. When did a teacher help you feel proud? What do you remember from kindergarten? Share in the comments below.
Wishing you an endless supply of chalk and chances-
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