Wednesday, June 8, 2011 | By: Brianna


First off, before I answer any questions, I'd like to make the observation that summer has successfully helped me forget what day of the week it is, the date, and what I have to do on any given day.  Luckily, I don't have anything too pressing to worry about, but all the same.

Q:  Who was your favorite teacher in elementary school?

A:  I had three.  In first grade, I had Mrs. R (names have been changed to protect the innocent and everyone's privacy).  She was the sweetest lady.  I just remember loving her class.  She encouraged me to write, and when I told her that I wanted to write a story, or become an author, she was the first person to say "Hey, you can do it!  Just practice!"

For third and fourth grade, I had Mrs. V, because I was in a "split class" which meant that half the time she would teach one grade something, and the other half she would teach the other half.  If that makes any sense. And then there must have been certain projects and assignments that we all did, because I remember it working fairly well.  Well Mrs. V was also super sweet.  She was this little older lady, and once I hit sixth grade, I'm pretty sure I was taller than her.  I remember those two years being really difficult with my friends  because we were always fighting.  I'm not even sure about what, but people were always fighting, and we always had to go out in the hall with Mrs. V and figure things out.  It was weird that I was out there so much because I always thought I was more quiet than the girls that were really fighting fighting, but I was involved in some way because I remember going out there.  After I left her class, I don't know for how long, but I remember journaling back and forth with her.  I would write her letters in this notebook and leave it in her mailbox in the office, and she would reply and do the same.  She just always made me feel special!

For fifth and sixth grade (split class again), I had Miss F.  Now Miss F had a reputation for being a tough teacher.  Everyone in the school knew who she was because she was tall, and she had this curly red hair that she always pulled back into a low ponytail.  Her class was supposed to do a ton of projects, and rumor had it that she wasn't very good at teaching math.  Those two years I remember vividly, well, kind of vividly because I did all sorts of projects from a presentation on Egyptian food to the Medieval Banquet (for which Miss F was famous because everyone looked forward to doing it) to burning a paper goat as a sacrifice to the Greek gods, to two years worth of the wax museum in the lunch room (one year as Sara Knight and one year as Augustus Caesar).  We did SO much when it came to history and I loved it.  I loved coming up with interesting ways of presenting the material, and I loved showing up everyone when mine was super creative.  Those years were also the first two years of the school play.  In fifth grade, we did Wizard of Oz and in sixth grade we did Annie Jr.  I was told by some gossipy older girls that Miss F (because she was the director) favored the students that she had had in class with regards to the casting, which might have been why I got to play Lily St. Regis in Annie Jr.  Didn't bother me, mostly because I benefited.  Which might be wrong...but hey.

It might be because it was so long ago, but elementary school just seems like a blur to me.  I don't remember much, but those things that I do remember are mostly silly things.  I remember being on the "crossing guard," which meant that I got to wear this orange belt with a badge on it and help stop cars so people could cross the street safely on their way to school.  I had the morning shift, so I didn't have to cross an excessive amount of people.  During the winter, we could go to the gym to get hot chocolate from the gym teacher who was in charge of the crossing guards.  Sometimes we brought our hot chocolate to our classes, and all the other kids in our classes were jealous.  Some of us got to be on the color guard for assemblies, so that was a big deal.  I got to be a guard for one of the flags, but I had to help the girl who carried the American flag because it was super heavy.

I remember playing silly games, mostly playing pretend (creating a band or being a group of witches, or playing Harry Potter characters) or four square or sometimes jumping rope.  Or tag, I loved tag.

On the rainy days we had to stay in the auditorium, and sometimes they would play a movie, but I don't remember anyone actually watching the movie because they never played anything good.  We usually turned around in our seats and talked to each other or passed notes.  Oh passing notes...

I remember in fourth grade I developed my first crush on a guy who was two years older than me.  Which I kept mostly a secret.  Okay, I told my friends, but that was about it.  I remember sending him a candy-gram or whatever the elementary school equivalent was, anonymously in sixth grade because I really had nothing to lose at that point.  And when you're little, you really don't know what to do with your liking of someone.  I remember I got to go to the rehearsal for eighth grade graduation that year, and I'm not sure why.  It might have been because I was on color guard.  But I cried so much because I had a bunch of friends who were graduating that year, and it just felt like the end of the world.  Eleven years old, and I was convinced that the world was ending at that very second.  I remember walking through the empty hallways to get back to my class, and one of the boy crossing guards who was also an eighth grader but not the guy that I liked stopped me and asked me what was wrong.  I explained rather quickly because I had to get back to class, but then he asked if I wanted a hug.  Me being the not very touchy-feely person that I was in sixth grade nodded pathetically even though it was out of character, because I needed a little comfort.  And that is still one of the best hugs I've ever gotten.

Our old librarian retired at some point during the time when I was at school there, and her replacement was evil.  I was sure of it.  But even though I absolutely hated her (because she was evil), I sucked up to her, and through some strange miracle, she liked me.  At least, I think she did.  It was pretty much amazing.

I remember the ladies in the front office knowing who I was, and I remember being in the front office quite a bit, though I was never there to see the principal.  So I'm not exactly sure why I was always there.  I just remember sitting on that bench that was set into the wall and staring over the counter at where these ladies worked.

I remember the younger kids lining up to come into school on the side of the building, and the older kids lined up in the back.  I remember they used metal detecting wands on our backpacks a couple times during sixth grade, but I was never really sure what they were looking for.

I remember saying that I would miss all my friends from elementary school while I went on the middle school at a different school and they stayed there for seventh and eighth grade, but I remember losing touch.  It was just one of those things that we realized that we didn't really have much in common any more.  And now that I think about it, I think about the way our lives have diverged so much that it's weird that we were together for those short years.  That we grew up partially together.  And just look how different we are.

"I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school.  They don't teach you how to love somebody.  They don't teach you how to be famous.  They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor.  They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer.  They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind.  They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying.  They don't teach you anything worth knowing."
- Neil Gaiman


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