Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Elementary School

Elementary school was pretty easy for me. I think that's why it was my favorite part of my school career. I was the smart kid, I was on top. Once I got to middle school I was just another kid.

My first grade teacher was Mrs. Webb. She had short red hair and was really nice. She let us choose names for our table groups depending on the holiday. Somehow she always remembered the different names, even though they changed quite often. A few years after I was out of Mrs. Webb's class, my mom was watching the news and heard that her husband had been killed in a plane crash. It was pretty sad, she was fairly young.

Like I said in my earlier post, Mrs. Slaughter was my second grade teacher, but I don't remember anything else about that year. In third grade I had Mr. Galloway. He was an older man who always wore slacks and a button up shirt. He would use his knuckle to point to a word or whatever else he needed to draw our attention to on the chalkboard. He also had a comb-over that always flew straight up in the air whenever the wind blew. We tried to keep from laughing as we stood in line outside to come in for recess. I saw him years later with a toupee. I don't know what was funnier.

Mr. Galloway is the only elementary school teacher that ever publicly scolded me. A boy had been teasing me one day and I kicked him in the shin. Immediately Mr. Galloway bellowed, "Karen, I can't believe you'd do such a thing! I'd expect that kind of behavior from others but not from you!" The class went dead silent and I could feel my face turn red from embarrassment. I had to try really hard to keep my eyes from watering. I never understood how some kids could get yelled at all the time for bad behavior and it didn't phase them. I took it very personally and hated to ever disappoint any of my teachers. I was a bit of a teacher's pet... always wanting to help out, always one of the first to raise my hand. I loved parent-teacher conference because my parents always came home with comments about how smart and well-behaved I was. I was "a teacher's dream."

I did get a stern talking to from Mrs. Beutler, my fourth grade teacher. My friends and I would pinch each others butts because we thought it was funny. We were too young to realize that was the stuff of sexual harassment. Mrs. Beutler pulled me aside one day and told me it was inappropriate and that if anybody did it again I should tell them to stop it in a very forceful tone. I was very embarrassed that time as well, but at least she had the tact to censure me in private. I probably would have melted and died had anyone else heard that conversation. On a different note, I believe that was the same year my "boyfriend," Jeremiah, and I broke up over Nintendo.

Mrs. Cazier was my fifth grade teacher. She told us that we could remember how to say her name by saying, "Cuz air is good for ya!" She was my favorite teacher in elementary school. She read books aloud to the class on a regular basis and those books became some of my all time favorites... "Matilda," "Hatchet," and "The Witches" just to name a few. Mrs. Cazier was a skinny, brunette woman who was naturally pretty. Some boys in my class once asked her how much she weighed and she said 115 pounds. They were all amazed. She would randomly draw a student's name from a jar once a week and whoever she picked would get to choose a prize from a pencil box full of surprises. I won all the time; it was great.

For some reason I can't remember my sixth grade teacher's name. It might have been Ms. Beck, but I'm not sure... I think it started with a "B" though. She was nice enough on a one-on-one basis but tended to get a little crabby with the class as a whole. I saw her at the mall one time coming out of a lingerie store. She was probably embarrassed but I didn't think anything of it. I was just excited because I'd seen my teacher.

The only other memory I have of sixth grade is not a pleasant one. I was a bit of a late bloomer and all the other girls were wearing their training bras by that time. I had been too timid to ask my mom if I could get one too (not that I needed it). My class was walking down the hall one day and a couple of the popular boys were messing around and snapping all the girls bras. A boy named Jason came up and tried to do it to me and when he couldn't he said, "She doesn't have one!" and they all started snickering. It was pretty humiliating. I was very self-conscious about that anyway and that little incident definitely didn't help. It's kind of sad in a way to look back at all the time I wasted worrying about what I looked like. I see my old school pictures and think I looked pretty dorky, but then, all the other kids did too. You don't see the big picture when you're a kid.


heidi said...

I was about to go offline when I flipped past the picture of you here and though I haven't even read the post (YET) I just have to say, young Karen is SO cute!!!

heidi said...

These early school years-stories, preschool through elementary, really took me back... I love "Mrs. Cazier"! And your descriptions about how it feels opening up fresh boxes of crayons. I was a teacher's pet, too... hence the beginnings of a lifelong "approval addiction." (Co's term.) Although maybe there was a paint-chip-consumption problem in my town as well? (That made me chuckle!)
I still think you looked cute, not dorky. But I know what you mean about kids not seeing the big picture. It's sad all that we suffer through based on false ideas and incomplete information! Maybe it gives us insight, in the long run, into others' pointless suffering. I hope so!
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.