Saturday, March 3, 2018

Thanks for the Lessons (Ten Things of Thankful)

(Because some people like Blogger and some like WordPress, i am putting the same content at both.  If you would prefer to read this on the other site, it is linked here.) 

Ten Things of Thankful

It's one of my favorite days of the week, the day to list things for which i am thankful.

This past week was the Friends of the Library book sale.  Sweetie and i managed to carve out one hour between jobs, and while perusing the selections, i got to thinking about all the things i'd learned from teachers all those years ago.  So i am thankful to some of the fabulous and not-so-fabulous teachers in my life for what i learned from them, things to do and things not to do.

First was Grandma, who taught me to read before i even went to school using the "Listen and Learn with Phonics" set.  It was such fun and i wanted to be able to read so much that i would ask for more than one lesson a day.  Heaven bless her, she let me go at my own speed, and i have not stopped since.

My Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. T, taught me how to humiliate a person.  It was awful.   One little girl in our classes talked and chatted and could not be quiet.  Today she would be drugged into silence, but Mrs. T finally one day called her to the front of the room and taped her mouth shut.  To this day i can see the tears running down the girls cheeks as she had to turn from that big teacher's desk, several pieces of masking tape over her mouth, and walk past all of us back to her desk.  The look of shame on her face disturbs me when i remember it.  Mrs. T taught me something she never intended, that humiliation is the worst way to try to teach, and i am grateful for the lesson.

Mrs. F taught me spelling.  She was strict but fair, and i still remember her saying, "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking."

Mrs. W taught me to hate math.  Though i've made peace with the multiplications tables now, she was mean and made math a horror with her biting tongue if you dared ask a question or did the slightest thing wrong.  She taught me that you can make a fun subject loathsome by the way you teach it.  When i was home educating my kids in math, i did everything i could to make it fun and something they would want to learn.  (It only partially worked, as Sweetie has math phobia, too, and didn't try to hide it.)

Mr. Z, ah, how we all loved him!  He rewarded us for good and timely work each day by reading aloud from The Hobbit.  He timed it so that we finished the book on the last day of school.  He taught me that a great teacher finds ways to motivate students even when the work is not always fun.

Mrs. G was a science teacher, and what a science teacher!  Experiments in her class left us wanting to learn more, and she was always letting us do hands on learning.  She fostered a love of science in me that i still have.

Mrs. C taught me to read between the lines and figure out what angle a teacher is using in framing questions.  This has stood me in good stead any time i had to take a standardized test.  She did it by framing questions in such odd and peculiar ways that she almost flunked half of the class.  Since i was one of those who figured out her odd ways, i enjoyed learning history from her, but even more i enjoyed learning different ways that people think.

Mr. K never made any expectations clear.  He would give an assignment, and then when he talked about it later, the parameters would have changed.  If you went to speak to him and get clarification, he would tell you he was looking for X.  When you gave him X in the assignment, he would tell you that you had done it wrong, what he was really looking for was Y.  He would even ask how come we had done the assignment a certain way instead of another way, when we had just done it the way he'd told us.  He taught me that if you don't tell people what you want plainly, or you change your mind between times, you won't get what you want.

Ms. R taught me to touch type, and i am so thankful, especially when i sit and type while looking either at the screen or across the room, and Sweetie is yelling, "How can you do that!"  It really impresses him, and i don't know why.

Sister RM was another science teacher who could inspire learning in fabulous ways.  She could also be quite tyrannical, and taught me chemistry, physics and that ruling with an iron fist just makes people resentful or unmotivated and depressed to the point where they do not care any more.

Ms. P took my love of Shakespeare and poetry and gave it critical and analytical backbone.

Thank you to the great teachers in my life for the great lessons, and thank you to the awful ones for showing me what not to do.

Josie Two Shoes hosts Ten Things of Thankful every week, and trust me, it is a worth while exercise.  Just try it and see if counting the things for which you are thankful doesn't change your outlook.


Today is:

Bonza Bottler Day™

Day of Remembrance for Prince Igor -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan Calendar

Floral City Strawberry Festival -- Floral City, FL, US (fun for all, through tomorrow)

Heart-Accelerating Sodium-Enriched Cold Cuts Day / National Cold Cuts Day -- started, i would think, by someone who has no intention of letting anything healthy past his/her lips

Hina Matsuri -- Japan (Doll Festivals throughout the country, where women and girls dedicate dolls to shrines which are then floated out to sea to take away evil and sicknesses that afflict women)

Iditarod Sled Dog Race - Last Great Race on Earth® begins -- Anchorage to Nome, AK, US (1,000 miles along the historic Iditarod Trail)

If Pets Had Thumbs Day -- because if you are going to imagine something silly today, it might as well be this; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

I Want You to be Happy Day -- a day to devote some time to making someone else truly happy about something

International Omega-3 Awareness Day

Joshi-no-Sekku -- Shinto (festival to honor girls)

Liberation Day/National Day -- Bulgaria

Marriage of the March Nymphs -- Fairy Calendar

Martyr's Day -- Malawi

Mother's Day -- Georgia

National Anthem Day -- US (current US anthem adopted this date in 1931) 

National Mulled Wine Day

Natural Bridge Battle Reenactment -- Tallahassee, FL, US (Civil War reenactment; through tomorrow)

North Dakota Winter Show -- Valley City, ND, US (world's largest crop show, eight-breed cattle show, rodeos, tractor pulls, entertainment, and more for tons of family fun; through next Saturday)

Peach Blossom Day - coincides with the start of the Peach Blossom Festival around this time of year in Hunan, China, where you celebrate the beauty of peach blossoms, and girls celebrate being girls

Philadelphia Flower Show -- Philadelphia, PA, US (largest flower show in the US; through Mar. 11)

Saint Piran's Day Celebration -- Kansas City, KA, US (celebration of the patron saint of Cornwall and Cornish peoples, as well as the patron of tin miners, sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Cornish Society)

Sportsmen's Day -- Egypt

Stop Bad Service Day -- spread around the internet by someone who got lousy service

St Casimir' Eve / Kaziukas Fair -- Vilnius, Lithuania (traditional craft fair dates back to the 17th century, celebrating Lithuania's patron saint; through tomorrow)

St. Cunegunda's Day (Patron of Bamberg, Germany; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Poland)

St. Winnal's Day (First comes David, Next comes Chad, Then comes Winnal, roaring mad! -- Traditional English saying about the storminess of March 3; St. Winwaloe or Winnal was the Christianized version of the Teutonic Aegir, god of the sea and controler of weather)

Thanks to the Maple Festival -- Iroquois (date approximate, held when sap began flowing, usually early March)

Anniversaries Today:

Florida becomes the 27th US state, 1845
Colegio Militar of Portugal is founded, 1803

Birthdays Today:

Jessica Biel, 1982
David Faustino, 1974
Julie Bowen, 1970
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, 1962
Herschel Walker, 1962
Ira Glass, 1959
Miranda Richardson, 1958
Tim Kazurinsky, 1950
Caroline Lee Bouvier Radziwill, 1933
Doc Watson, 1923
Diana Barrymore, 1921
James Doohan, 1920
Jean Harlow, 1911
Matthew Bunker Ridgway, 1895
Norman Bethune, 1890
Alexander Graham Bell, 1847
George Pullman, 1831

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Moonlighting"(TV), 1985
"Goodtime Charley"(Musical), 1975
"The Lion in Winter"(Play), 1966
"Mr Wizard"(TV), 1951
"Juno and the Paycock"(Play), 1924
Time Magazine, 1923
"Carmen"(Opera), 1875
"Symphony No. 3 in A minor(Scottish)"(Mendelssohn Op.56), 1842
"Symphony No. 101 in D major(The Clock)"(Haydn), 1794

Today in History:

The Statute of Rhuddlan incorporates the Principality of Wales into England, 1284
The Olympic Theatre, designed by Andrea Palladio, is inaugurated in Vicenza, 1585
The first amphibious landing of the United States Marine Corps begins the Battle of Nassau, 1776
The first US Jewish governor, David Emanuel, takes office in Georgia, 1801
The US declares war on Algeria for taking US prisoners and demanding tribute, 1815
The Missouri Compromise, an attempt to keep the US half Slave and half free, is passed by the US Congress, 1820
The Battle of Pelee Island takes place, Ontario, Canada, 1838
Tsar Alexander II emancipates the serfs of Russia, 1861
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the founding member of the HSBC Group, opens, 1865
The first ever organized indoor game of ice hockey is played in Montreal, Canada as recorded in The Montreal Gazette, 1875
Georges Bizet's opera Carmen receives its première at the Opéra Comique in Paris, 1875
Bulgaria regains its independence from Ottoman Empire, 1878
Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood becomes the first female attorney to argue before the US Supreme Court, 1879
The US Geological Survey is created, 1879
Anne Sullivan arrives to begin teaching Helen Keller, 1887
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia agrees to create an elected assembly, the Duma, 1905
Toronto's Dr Banting & Dr Best announce discovery of insulin, 1921
Time Magazine begins publication, 1923
The United States officially adopts The Star-Spangled Banner as its national anthem, 1931
Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia, 1938
In Mumbai, Mohandas Gandhi begins to fast in protest of the autocratic rule in India, 1939
Jackie Brenston, with Ike Turner and his band, records "Rocket 88", often cited as "the first rock and roll record", at Sam Phillips' recording studios in Memphis, Tennessee, 1951
An amateur video captures the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers, 1991
The tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, opens after two-and-a-half years of construction, 1997
Citizens of Switzerland narrowly vote in favor of their country becoming a member of the United Nation, 2002
Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly an airplane non-stop around the world solo without refueling, 2005
A 2-year old Mississippi girl born with HIV/AIDS is pronounced HIV negative after receiving treatment for the virus within 30 hours after her birth, 2013


  1. You've had a lot of wonderful teachers! And a great memory to remember so many by initial. ;) I loved how you included even teachers who taught you something without meaning to (i.e. don't humiliate others). And I also love that your grandmother made the list! So sweet! <3.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  2. I can identify with some of the teachers you have mentioned. I too have some very wonderful teachers to thank for and some very not wonderful teachers that have taught me unpleasant lessons. But thank God for the wonderful teachers who have influenced me in a very good way.

  3. I spent the day yesterday with my older siblings and I have to say they would be among my favorite teachers:-)

  4. This was a great post, Mimi, and echoed my belief that there is something to learn from everyone, whether it is what to do or what not to do. Sadly, the teachers who made learning difficult, or worse yet a miserable experience, seldom realize the effect they are having. Students are young, impressionable, and more fragile than they appear. Everything should be done in a spirit of kindness if we want the best result. It is wonderful that you can look back now at those experiences and see things you learned in each situation, even the ones that weren't great. That's true of all of life, isn't it?!

    PS - Please check your email and let me know if you are receiving the codes you requested!

  5. I thank my Uncle Rocco who died two days ago for being there when I needed his support after my mom died. He & I would get together at his house having coffee and he would listen to all the problems that I was having with family problems. For two years he was always there. I will miss him a great deal. He suffered a great deal at the end and now he's enjoying life with God in Heaven. RIP Uncle Rocco.

    Cruisin Paul

  6. Excellent list of thankfuls. I am glad you were able to learn something from the bad teachers too. It is sad there are some out there that can have such a negative impact on a child. Our library doesn't have a big book sale, but the one in the next town does and I can't wait for it.

  7. Reading and the love of reading are the gifts I received from my mother that are forever useful. I still love books and being around them.

  8. I haven't thought about teachers for many years. Now I'm going through the good ones and the bad ones. Your math teacher sounded awful. You have to get the good from even the bad. Lovely thankful post.

    Have a fabulous weekend. ♥

  9. Thank you for this awesome post. My mom was a teacher and I learned from her, saw by her positive example, what teaching and educating is supposed to be about. Amazing isn't it, seeing in retrospect, the influence teachers have on us, good or bad.
    Oh my gosh! Mrs. T. Awful. Took me right back to 1st grade with Sr. Cedric. I'm not by nature a gregarious person so this surprises the adult me lol. One day, apparently I was talking too much to my friends during class. Like your Mrs. T, Sr. Cedric thought humiliation in front of my peers would be an effective tool to stop my talking. She called me up front, then ordered me to stand facing the class and repeatedly open and close my mouth (as if I was talking) until she told me to stop. Thank goodness for the Mr. Zs and the Mrs. Cs and Gs :D

  10. I'm a retired Kindergarten teacher, Mimi, and I am shocked and horrified at yours taping the mouth of a child. She would be fired now. It's interesting that some of the most important lessons that we learned in school have not much to do with the subject matter, as much as the incidental learning that goes along with it. My philosophy was always to respect and instill confidence. Encouraging students enables them to exceed expectations. You definitely got me thinking about all my teachers over the years. Have a good week.

  11. Those who work with children shape them in so many ways---subtle or grand, positive or negative. Reading this post I vow to rededicate myself to remaining cognizant of the power I have in so many young lives as an educator and to use my influence for good.

  12. You and your 'themed TTOTs'. This (idea) is still one of the best, most original approaches to our little bloghop!
    (Thats coming from the Wakefield Doctrine, a blog never accused of not taking the path less followed. lol)
    It was my mother who taught me to enjoy reading. And that, as many others have said, is the key to learning. It was never a chore and always a pleasure.
    As to teachers....we'll. Went to parochial school and, while I owe a lot to the nuns for my penmanship, I'm more grateful to them for the experiences that have provided me with characters for the stories I write today! lol
    fun TToT

  13. It's sad how our teachers can have that impact us. I had some great teachers at school but my maths teacher was awful too. He kept me behind after school one day because I got my homework wrong! I could understand if I'd not tried it, but I tried. I've had a fear of maths/statistics ever since! Kudos to you for home-teaching your children maths, despite your feelings around it.

  14. What a great idea for a post! Teachers do make an impression on young minds, don't they?

  15. Marriage of the March Nymphs...


    I like your choice for a thankful post all about teachers, the good and the bad. We all have both.

    My second grade teacher was my favourite. She came to Canada from Australia. My third grade teacher had favourite students, which I think is never a good idea for a teacher.

    My fourth grade teacher read us The Hobbit. I can't say I loved it, have only vague memories of listening about a hobbit coming out from underneath a mountain. I didn't fully appreciate Tolkien until I was an adult.

    My sixth grade teacher was the first male teacher I'd had. He was well liked, not bad, but I was ill that year and he was tough on me because he didn't understand there was a medical reason why I couldn't think to do math problems or why I passed out on the grass and couldn't get up after running laps around the school yard.

    My seventh grade teacher was more understanding because by then it was known why I was so sick. She was kind and gave me one B in English, even if I did miss 104 days of school that year.

    Ah, humiliation is never a good way to teach anyone anything. Glad you can see all that value in all the lessons now though.