Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Five: Back To School Edition

(Originally posted August, 2006).

Another from the RevGals. I don't start school until Sept. 13th but now that I've been out of school for a month I'm starting to get itchy for it...

1. What is your earliest memory of school?
I can still remember my kindergarden classroom at Drew Central Elementary in Arkansas. The sandbox on a table, the "mat" I used for naptime (my least favorite part), the smell of paste, the bluish wall color, the story time area, the cubbyholes for our things. And Mrs. Newman, the teacher, who made everyone an ornament for Christmas, which I still have and hang on the tree every year. I don't have many specific memories, except for the time when I played with the rat poison behind the bookshelf near my mat during naptime. It was a box of pretty yellow powder, which I did not eat but just emptied on the floor and pushed around. The next day in class we got a lesson about not touching things which you don't know what they are...

2. Who was a favorite teacher in your early education?
I'm not sure what is meant by "early" but I assume grade school (K-6 for me). The truth is I loved all my grade school teachers until the second half of 6th grade, when we moved to Kansas and I had a mean teacher for the first time. Once she actually grabbed my arm and dug her fingernails in; I have no idea what I did, but I ticked her off somehow. But this is supposed to be about favorites! Well, I loved them all. I think I liked Mrs. Dement (4th grade, Austin, TX) the best, though, because in her class for the first time I really felt smart, and she pushed me to do my best.

3. What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?
Well, the technology is the obvious answer. My oh my, I can't quite get over folks taking notes on laptops, cellphones going off in class, and people sitting through class with bluetooth headsets in their ears. I also notice people IM-ing and surfing the web AND finishing the paper for their next class during class as well, and this to me is disrespectful (and a waste of their student loan money...but I guess that is their choice...).

I do have a laptop but I still take notes the old-fashioned way, with paper and pen. I find it easier to focus that way.

The other thing I would note is that I distinctly remember kids getting paddled IN FRONT OF THE CLASS by the teacher of the principal. That would never fly now.

4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned.
I know I had to learn songs for school programs but I don't really remember them; I don't remember having to memorize anything else except the list of helping verbs: "amisarewaswerebebeingbeenhashavehaddodoesdidmaymightmustcancouldshallshouldwillwould"
Most of the memorizing I had to do was piano music for the yearly festivals. By high school I was memorizing concerto movements, Mendelsohn and Mozart.

For my intro to poetry class in college, I had to memorize two poems, one which I don't remember, the other of which was all the verses of Isaac Watts' "Oh God Our Help In Ages Past." Yes that's a hymn, but it was actually in the poetry book, so it counted!

5. Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share?
Surprise surprise, I was pretty much a good kid. I remember getting detention a few times but for what must have been minor infractions because I don't remember what they were. The most trouble I ever got in at school was for getting caught blowing spitballs at the band director in 7th (maybe 8th) grade. The entire brass section (all boys except me) were going at it, and I was just trying to fit of course who got caught on her first try? ME. My parents were FURIOUS -- preacher's kids don't do such things, I guess, and adding to their fury was the fact that they had both been band directors at previous times in their lives. That was not one of my better days!