Wednesday, November 3, 2010
My Third Grade
I have always looked back at third grade with a profound fondness. When this picture showed up on fb, I realized a few things. First, I never realized that so many of my memories from elementary school were all connected with the same class. Second, I discovered that lots of my classmates feel the same way I do. Finally, I am surprised at the wealth of positive emotions I find associated with that chapter of my life -- it is a stark contrast with the feelings of insecurity associated with my high school years.
The person who set the culture for our class was our teacher, Mrs. Pearl Durham. From an adult's perspective, I can really appreciate all her innovative, creative teaching methods. She gave us one of the greatest gifts: freedom. Anyone could go to the restroom without asking permission: she had two textile spools, about 8 inches long, one for the boys and one for the girls, placed in the chalkboard tray. When a boy needed to use the restroom, he would take the boys' spool with him down the hall, and return it to the tray when he came back. No tugging on Mrs. Durham's skirt -- we handled the responsibility ourselves, waiting for the spool to return, if necessary. Man, she was smart.
I remember a lot of free time in class when we could work independently on assignments. There was a card file box with several sections in which we could find ideas for creative writing; I loved going to the box to find just the right idea for a fun story.
More than once she had ice cream brought to the class, in those little tubs with wooden spoons. Clearly that's the way to a third grader's heart.
She arranged for our class to go to a recording session at a radio station, and later we heard our class on air!
We took a train ride from Greensboro to High Point, where we ate breakfast at (what seemed to be) a fancy restaurant. A caravan of moms met us there and brought us home.
We put on a play based on the first book in the "The Little House on the Prairie" series. I only had one line, but I still remember it.
All this was packed into one year of school. Wow! I thank God for Mrs. Durham. I want to be like her when I grow up.