Monday, November 5, 2007

Day 5 But It's Mine

The first lesson I remember learning about people outside the family dynamics came in first grade. Now, Mrs. Lybran was exalted as the best first grade teacher in town (there were only two and she had been there the longest). I don't know if she was or not. I did learn to read and I can do basic math so I'm going to say she did her job at least in those areas. What I do remember about Mrs. Lybran though is that she had class pets and I wasn't one of them. Or at least that is my take on it now. I also learned that some people can lie and get by with it and don't seem to mind hurting others. It all happened in art class. We got to go into this closet type room where and easel was set up and we could paint. It was a wonderful magical place and everyone eagerly awaited their turn. I'm a little shaky about all the details, but I remember after several us had taken our turn it was discovered that two of the painting didn't have names on them. Mrs. Lybran held them both up and said to everyone,"This one must be Jan's because it is so neat. Just look at how good those trees are and what great apples she has painted." I tentatively said it was mine, but Jan who was beaming said yes it was hers. Mrs. Lybran put Jan's name on my painting and my name on Jan's. I was crushed. I wanted to cry, to scream, to rip the painting with my name on it to shreds; I don't think I did anything. Looking back I know that is when a long time of feeling inferior and inadequate began. All through school I would only go so far then back down before I could be put down. It was after I met the man who became my husband and father of my children that I began to realize that I am a very worthwhile person with talents equal to others. He put back in me what Mrs. Lybran had destroy so many years before.

Because I went on to become a teacher, I wonder how many students I have been a Mrs. Lybran to? Have I crushed some one with an innocent remark. I'm sure I have, and to you I offer a heartfelt apology.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

We were talking about this recently in our prof. development group at work while discussing giving/receiving feedback.

I remember Mrs. Toliver calling me down during art class. I had dropped my black crayon but she'd admonished us not to fidget. So, in order to not get in trouble for fidgeting, I tried coloring harder with my gray crayon. When she saw what I was doing, she stopped the entire class so that "Carrie can catch up with us." Absolutely mortified. And I swear that's why my art ability is thwarted at that of a 6-year-old. (OK, that or I have no talent but mostly I blame Mrs. Toliver). I know you've said that I was one of her favorites but I definitely don't remember it that way at all.

I, too, worry that I've done or said something that will be remembered this way by a student (and it's why I cringe when I hear a fellow teacher saying something sarcastic or negative to a student).