Teachers Make a Lasting Impact

During a 45 minute elementary classroom observation today, I was treated to a theatrical, energetic ELA teacher with an obvious love for what she does.

The children, 23 of them, were dissecting their recent chapter of Treasure Island while learning about character development, building imagery with words, prequels vs. sequels, and how the opinions of others often hold more clout in society than actual fact — such as when authors use a quote from another writer on the cover of their book to gain credibility. Book reports on Roald Dahl and other fantastic authors were also on the day’s agenda.

The teacher, an adept story teller, held these children’s attention remarkably well the entire period as they discussed various English language concepts by sprinkling in pop cultural comparisons the children would easily grasp – such as Star Wars and Harry Potter – and engaging them in laughter, wit, and stories about their own lives.

During a bunny trail discussion of word imagery and the pictures we build in our minds as we read, the teacher told the class a story of how her own Grandmother (a retired, veteran teacher) always encouraged her to read as a young girl.

“I was in elementary when the first Harry Potter book came out,” the teacher told the class. “My Grandmother would buy me the books. And she made sure I read them first before I could see the movie. And I loved reading! And picturing Harry and Ron and Hermione. When the final Harry Potter movie came out in theaters, I was in college, and refused to go see it with my group of friends. Because I wanted to be with my Grandma. It was our thing. What we did together. I finally did go with my Grandma! ….and my friends tagged along.”

Hats off to this beloved Teacher-turned-Grandma who is STILL making an impact in the classroom long after she’s put away her own grade book!

As the children stood for lunch a few minutes later, I hesitantly did too as I had another observation scheduled immediately afterwards. But I didn’t actually want to leave. Can I go back to 3rd grade? I’ll request this teacher.