Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Favorite Teacher, A Book And What I Knew About Her


“Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.” Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

My favorite teacher was the one I had for fourth grade. Her name was Mrs. Workman. I actually remember the names of all my teachers from grade school.

Mrs. Workman was newly married, I remember. She was so pretty with thick blonde hair and bouncy curls. She had a bubbly personality to match the bounce in her hair and step. She was funny and smiley.

What I loved most about Mrs. Workman was that she had freckles too. Just like me. I had bunches and bunches. So many, that I got picked on by boys in my class for them. I hated “freckle face” comments so much that I asked my mom to buy me lemons to rub on my cheeks in hopes that they would fade. I was a very sensitive sort even way back when but I refused to cry (not to mention I was already getting tall and boys were so short). I got enough razzing from my brother at home. She told me she loved my freckles. So, I loved her back!

I was riveted by the way Mrs. Workman read to the class, her voice. I adored reading too and she was the first to recommend one of my favorite books, The Phantom Tollboth. I read it immediately. (Both my kids loved this book as well)

Even back then, I would read non-stop and stay up later than my parents knew just to finish a book. Then I could tell Mrs. Workman the next day. She always said she was proud of the way I loved reading and talking about books.

I clearly remember the last day of school. I was devastated to be leaving her classroom. What would make it harder is she told us she was moving away with her husband. I definitely wouldn’t be seeing her again. Not even in the hallway. She said she would write me.

But something also happened that last day of school…this totally grossed me out and I don’t know why even to this day. She raised her arms for something and I noticed they were hairy and not just a little bit. I was so put off and shocked because she was so pretty and this was very much unexpected in my 9-year-old eyes.

Mrs. Workman did write me over the summer. Twice. And I wrote her back but I couldn’t help thinking about whether she shaved her underarms or not.

“So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.”  Norton Juster, again!

Mama's Losin' It
1.)  Share a story from fourth grade. (inspired by Wild Life in the Woods).

30 comments:

  1. How sweet though that she actually did write to you. But yeah, I'm laughing hard as hell b/c the pit hair came out of nowhere. And school was ending so it was summer, and, well, ew (I'd have totally given her a pass had it been December. But then, wait, how would you have seen them? Hm. Nevermind). Your story reminds me of Matilda and Miss Honey.

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    1. She was soooo sweet and I loved her. Tell me about it...the armpit hair coming out of left field for sure! And, yep, she had a sundress on and there it was. For me, it was completey an "ewwww" moment. Apparently so because I remember it vividly to this day but I remember lots of things vividly...

      It was Matilda-esque.

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  2. Wow. That really is a sweet story until the unfortunate part about the non-manicured arm pits. Too funny.

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    1. I really had never seen it before. My mom certainly wasn't that way. Thanks for enjoying.

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  3. Funny how you remember things like that - I wonder why she didn't shave, that was quite unusual in those days to not shave actually...We had nuns so I never knew either way, but generally they were crabby. The only sweet one took off to marry a priest.

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    1. Very unusual, I'd say. A foreign concept to me.

      I didn't go to Catholic school until high school and you, obviously, saw nothing like that from the nuns except for their crabbiness. And of course, the sweet one went off with the priest. We were taught by LaSallian Brothers as well and they went off with a nun or two at the time (not two at the same time...you know what I mean)

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  4. I loved The Phantom Tollbooth. I read the book and saw the movie in summer school. Come to think of it the teacher was blonde and had freckles, but I don't remember anything about arm pit hair.

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    1. Lots of teachers fit that blonde freckled profile, I'm sure, but hopefully minus the hair. You would have notice, no doubt.

      My other favorite book from the time was A Wrinkle In Time. Loved it so much! So did my kids.

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  5. Arm pit hair still grosses me out. Blech.

    Good story!!

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    1. Me too, Diane. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Daggone hippy teachers...loved your post!

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    1. She must have had her hippie thing under wraps until the summertime proved too much to cover it up any longer! She was darling though and still my favorite.

      Thanks so much!

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  7. Lol! When we moved to Germany, I remember being completely grossed out by the fact that most German women didn't shave their legs! I was only 8--what can I say?

    I will be reading The Phantom Tollbooth now, thanks to you!

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    1. Can't do the leg thing either. Gotta be smooth and slick for me! At 8, that would have put me over the edge.

      It's sooo good and add A Wrinkle In Time to your reading stack as well. Loved it too!

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  8. She sounds like an amazing teacher. LOL @ the armpit thing. That would gross me out,even now.

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    1. She was amazing and I will never forget her. I just can't explain the hair feeling at the time. Now, to each his own.

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  9. How funny!!!! That is hilarious that after all of your time with her and adoring her and reading with her the pit hair put you off. I'll let it slide since you were nine.

    She does sound great, especially after writing to you over the summer.

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    1. Oh, I still loved her. I just didn't like the hairy thing at the time...nine.

      I'm sure I still have those letters somewhere or my mom does. Since you're a teacher...one of my friends is a long time grade school teacher and I asked her what was the best end of the year gift we could give. She said a letter. From the time my children were in kindergarten, I wrote a letter (not email) to their teachers (really, really heartfelt when I loved them) every single June. They always wrote me back.

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    2. That would be so touching to receive from a student or a parent!

      By the way, check out my blog for a gift for you...

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    3. My kids wrote letters to their favorites as well. I ran in to my son's third grade teacher recently and she mentioned that she still has the rose he made her and the letter he scribbled out which was ten years ago.

      I will head over, thanks!

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  10. LOL!!!!! I didn't think you were going THERE. As I was reading I was reminiscing about my third grade teacher who was SO sweet, got married and moved mid-year (must have been military). But anyway, Oh MY to the hairy armpits. I guess that's all you needed to get over her. LOL!

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    1. I never truly got over her. I was taken aback, for sure and a bit grossed out for a nine year old. Now, wouldn't phase me at all but not my thing either.

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  11. It sounds like she expanded your horizons in all kinds of ways. Great story! :)

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    1. She did but especially with reading. I do credit her with my love for it! Thanks for visiting, Julie!

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  12. My third grade teacher was the one I'll miss forever. She rescued me in sixth and 9th grades, too. She gave me books and self confidence and so many other things. Amazing lady.

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    1. My kids have each had a Mrs. Workman in their young lives. It was special for me to see and a big self confidence boost for them as well.

      Another teacher that made a big impact on me was my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Wardlow. He was also way into books and he gave me my next big lift academically before I went off to middle school. Nothing compares to an amazing teacher (of any kind!)

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  13. So funny what we remember! Great post!!

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    1. Thanks LadyGGG. I remember lots of things that I share on my blog. Usually funny, some not so much but funny to me. Thanks for visiting!

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  14. Love that you have a "mostly" positive story about 4th grade and that she followed through to write to you.

    Here's my 4th grade story: http://www.clevercompass.com/weblog/2012/5/19/i-want-a-do-over-for-fourth-grade-vlog.html

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    1. It was fantastic and shaped me for life. I truly loved her. The hair thing just shocked a 9 year old. I'm going to read your story now. Thanks for swinging by!

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