My favorite teacher in school was my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Pomeroy. She had brain surgery just before that year at school so she had very short hair, as short as a boy's. She kept a bag of pink mints (the kind that have four X's on the top) in her desk drawer and gave one to anyone in the class who was having a bad day. She wore earrings that were held on her ears with small, roound magnets. She kept a small pitcher of water and a clean washcloth which she called the "cry rag". When we all laughed at the thought of "grown up fourth graders" crying she assured us that everyone would need it before the year was through. I thought not me but sure enough, I needed it when my mother couldn't bake a cake for the school carnival because she was having a baby. I think everyone in the class had occasion to use it but it was no big deal.
We had class pets, a newt, kept in a large fish tank without water in it, and a turtle. The turtle died and Mrs. Pomeroy put 3 or 4 of us girls in charge of a funeral service. We buried him on the playground.
Mrs. Pomeroy put me in charge of seeing that Larry Givens, a boy in the class, had "tails" on all of his words which we were learning to write in cursive. I felt very important but who knows, maybe I was forgetting to put tails on my words.
One day she pulled down a map of the world. She had each student come and whisper in her ear the name of the place where we lived. We thought we knew where we lived, but by the end of the day she was still shaking her head no to our whisperings. By this time, everyone was desperate to know. Finally, she told us it was North America and pointed it out on the map. Thus began our Social Studies lesson.
We made a book for every unit in Social Studies. I still have the books and a picture I made of the house where we lived. I thought I was always a good speller but looking at these books now, I realize I wasn't and it gives me a little window into the mind of a 4th grader.
Mrs. Pomeroy knew that I was moving to British Columbia.Canada at the end of the year where most Americans have trouble in their schools so she prepared me with extra things. When I enrolled in school in B.C. they skipped me into sixth grade.
What I learned: Learning can be a fun adventure if the teacher will make it that way.
Everyone, even students, has something to offer.
When things don't go well, just use a "cry rag" and go on with life.