I’ve been doing more thinking about teachers pets and – the rest of us. My own experience is as the “other one.” I was not a bad student, neither was I brilliant.
My memories of school begin with the second grade play and the fifth grade note passing. From there on, except for one year, I attended private girls schools. I sat in the back row of a smaller group and said as little as possible. My sophomore year was in two public high schools due to a move in the middle of the year. I have a picture of my class… I am way at the side trying to be invisible.
College… Radcliffe, I was told by my geography teacher that I could never get into Radcliffe…. I did, probably because my mother, her sister, my grand mother and my dad’s sister all went there. At Radcliffe I sat in the back row and kept my mouth shut. I was what my dad called an able C-man… as was he and the rest of the family. C, back in those days was an acceptable grade.
Family took care of my early married years. Four kids within five years is plenty to keep me busy.
Then the kids were all off at school and I found my strength. I started working at the school as a volunteer, then took on a girl scout troop… I was no longer in the “back row” keeping my mouth shut. I had found my niche.
The principal at the school suggested I become a paid aide. Then he suggested I get my teaching credentials. From there it was classroom teacher… grades 1-2-3 and combinations of those grades.
Someone believed in me. Someone felt I could do something.
I was never a teacher’s pet, but somewhere along the line someone believed in me and I found my voice. How I wish we could find the voice, the niche, the talent of every child., and not wait until they are grown. I had wonderful parents and relatives who cared. Not everyone does.
My strengths in school were math and art. I am sad when I read of art being dropped. Suppose my only strength was art?
As I think back on this “back row” person, I think about my major move to Florida where I taught for 6 years in grades 1 and 3. I found my niche in a quilt guild. I taught quilt classes. Then another move to Mass… again a quilt guild and in a very short time I was president of a 300 member guild. This person had found a voice! I was not in the back row. I had gained confidence. Maybe it is confidence we need to instill in children, that they can do something. That what they have to say counts. That they can ask questions and be made to feel their question is worth asking. That maybe, they might be good in art or sports or music and the academic stuff is tough but worth it.