Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Little First Grade Girl

I only taught elementary school, full-time, for one year. I taught first grade, during the 1971-72 school year, at Glacier Valley Elementary School. Then along came our sons, who took center-stage in my life for the next 20-some years.

I remember the names and personalities of quite a few, though not all, of those little six- and seven-year-olds. One little girl, with a long braid down her back, I remember clearly. She had an unusual first name (I'll just call her G for this blog), and was the brightest star in my class. G was so far ahead of the rest of the students that I had my hands full keeping her challenged and engaged. Not only was she bright, but she was also respectful, sweet natured and kind to her classmates -- a teacher's dream!

In 2002, 30 years later, I was working as the supervisor for Teacher Certification in Alaska. I answered the phone, one day, to hear a pleasant voice at the other end asking some typical questions about renewing a certificate. She was calling from somewhere in the Anchorage area. I answered her questions, and offered to send her a renewal packet. To do so, I needed her name and address. When she told me her name, which was G (and a last name I didn't recognize), I thought back to the little girl, G, from my first grade class. I'd never known anyone else with that name. I finished taking down her address, and then couldn't resist. "Did you used to live here in Juneau?" She said she had, and, in fact, had gone to elementary, junior high, and high school there. I couldn't stop there! "Did you go to Glacier Valley Elementary School?" She had! "I think I might know you," I said. "I used to teach first grade there, and I had a student named G (and I added the last name). It was in 1971-72. Would that have been you?"

She let out a scream, "Mrs. Judd?!!! You were my favorite teacher!" She was 37 years old by now, and she began telling me all about her life - college graduate, wife, mother, teacher, a good life. It was such a rewarding conversation. She kept saying how wonderful it was to talk to me again, and how glad she was that I remembered her.

That conversation more than made up for being forgotten by Mr. E.


Rob said...

I was one of those students as well. I live in Portland and teach 4th grade. I still remember that 1st grade room and the knowledge that I knew your first name but was not to use it at school. I was on Wyattjourney and saw your blog link. It's been nice remembering.

Linda said...

Hi Rob! (I still think of you as Robby.) How wonderful to reconnect! I see your mother whenever I visit my mom, in Carlsbad. Thanks for leaving a comment. And, by the way, you can use my first name now ;-)

-- Linda