Blogs by Reginald Victor Johnson
Teacher with a Hand of Wood ... and a Heart of Gold
11/2/2007 8:02:02 AM
This is a true story about a first grade teacher in a small southern town; who dedicated her heart, soul, and life ... to the pursuit of excellence ... for all her students.
More from Reggie Johnson is available at http://www.success-tapes.com
In the summer prior to starting our first grade in school, experienced siblings gave us “rookies” some salient advice. Rule number one: Do not get in Mrs. Starchfield’s class. Rules two through ten: At all costs, avoid Mrs. Starchfield’s class!
Considered the meanest teacher in elementary school; she was an opposing figure (six- feet tall) with fiery-green eyes, and an artificial - limb for a left arm and hand.
Older boys and girls would recount stories of being paddled with a yardstick and having erasures thrown at them for unruly behavior, or forgotten homework- assignments. To compound the problem, this was an age of “double jeopardy”. This meant any punishment given by teachers, would be meted out again by one’s parents at home.
Attending the first day of school was a daunting experience for me and my friends. We said our prayers, rubbed lucky beads, carried crosses, tea leaves, and four- leaf clovers … to avoid being placed in Mrs. Starchfield’s class.
When I got my assignment, a monumental weight was lifted off my shoulders. Not only did I avoid the dreaded Mrs. Starchfield; I was placed in Mrs. Thompson’s class (Westfield Elementary’s most desired teacher!)
She had long- black- wavy hair, and was a fox! (Loosely translated, it means, gorgeous.) I fell in love with her, immediately, and was going to ask for her hand in marriage.
My fantasy only lasted for three hours. It was then announced by the Principal; too many students were in Mrs. Thompson’s class. Consequently, ten pupils would be moved to Mrs. Starchfield’s home-room (I was in the group).
It was my worst nightmare. I begged, pleaded, cajoled, and beseeched Mrs. Thompson to let me stay. When that failed, I cried in Mrs. Starchfield’s class…. for two minutes. I had to stop after that … due to a thrown erasure.
Over the years, I realized Mrs. Starchfield was an exceptional teacher … and instrumental in developing the character of her students. She made us accountable for our actions, and was relentless in maintaining high standards of excellence. She taught invaluable lessons like discipline, initiative, commitment … and respect for others.
I never got to thank her but have tried to apply the life-long lessons she instilled in me. Hopefully, she is smiling down upon me from that great “Elementary School” in the sky. If you can hear me, Mrs. Starchfield: Thank you!!
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Review: Quiet Strength. The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning Life - Thursday, September 24, 2009
Review: Come on, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors - Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Review: My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir - Sunday, July 20, 2008
Review: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything - Saturday, July 19, 2008
Review: The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream - Friday, June 06, 2008
Lincoln's Assassins: Their Trial .. James L. Swanson. Daniel Weinberg - Saturday, January 05, 2008
Review: Bamboozled: How Americans are being Exploited ... Angela McGlowan - Friday, December 28, 2007
Teacher with a Hand of Wood ... and a Heart of Gold - Friday, November 02, 2007
Mother's Daughter ... God's Child - Thursday, November 01, 2007
LEGAL Immigrant ... Lifelong Friend - Wednesday, October 31, 2007
God was on Her Side! - Friday, October 12, 2007