Memories of a Beloved Teacher
When I hear that it is Teacher Appreciation Week, my thoughts turn to Ms. Sheesh, my first grade teacher. In reality, she was a substitute teacher as my regular teacher had some health issues that kept her out of the classroom for all but the first and last month of the school year.
Many years have passed since this grandmother was a six year old entering the first grade. My memory of what Ms. Sheesh looked like has faded but not the imprint she made on my young life. Some 44 years ago, this stranger walked into a classroom and taught me the meaning of patience, tenderness and determination.
Developing Life Skills
As an infant, I suffered a medical condition that left my large and fine motor skills somewhat diminished. Things other children could do easily were a struggle for me. There were no special education classes back then for children like me. We endured bullying and learned to cope, being pushed along by a school system that didn’t know what else to do with us.
Among other things, I couldn’t do simple things like skip or hold a pencil correctly. Ms. Sheesh saw my difficulties and took me under her protective and nurturing wing. On the playground, she worked with me on hopping and skipping and prevented the other children from making fun of me. In the class room, she assisted as much as she could and sent home extra work, particularly handwriting sheets so that I could practice writing under my mother’s watchful eye. Together, the two of them made sure I kept up with grade level work and mastered the skills I would need later in life.
Appreciation of a Wonderful Teacher
Today I am a freelance writer and make my living with the written word. Though I use a computer, I attribute any measure of success I may have to Ms. Sheesh and her patience. She taught me that with determination and love, you can master anything you put your mind to. To me, she and others like her are the reason to remember educators during Teacher Appreciation Week and all year long.