51 years, 51 miles, and so many teachers

Jason and I have a birthday tradition.  We ride bikes together.  1 mile for each revolution around the sun.

And while we ride, we share milestones and memories from the year that we’ve just completed (when we remember).

On my 51 mile birthday ride, I realized how each of my earliest years were distinguished by my teachers.

Kindergarten: Mrs Livingston, we played “Giants & Fairies” to her piano playing (we had a piano in our classroom)
1st grade: Mrs. Frazer, we practiced counting to 100, as a class, standing up. (always a long 9 before the next 10s group)
2nd grade: Ms. Donovan, she had red hair and was so nice. and then we moved and I had Mrs. Ross… Her first name was Alice, we listened to Alice’s Restaurant a lot. She loved birds and each of us cut balsa wood airplanes with exacto knives (7 years old!)
3rd grade: Mrs. Barger, she loved teaching us Spanish, called me Alejandra, and drove 2 of us to the store to pick out candy for our class piñata
4th grade: Mr Shephard-Blue, he taught us Russian, played the piano in class, and introduced us to Shakespeare. I was Dromio in The Comedy of Errors (I wore pantyhose on my head to look bald, so embarrasing!)
5th & 6th grade: Mrs. Rotondi, I adored Mrs. Rotondi, she was so smart and so kind. My paper mache grand canyon was a terrible mess.

And I remembered all of my subject teachers through junior high and high school. (too many to list here) And with each of them, specific classes and lessons come rushing back into my consciousness. I thought about how amazing it was that these teachers became my reference for specific points in time and really for how I understood my own experience.

Logging on to my computer this morning, I saw the Happy Teacher Appreciation week google doodle.

Decades later I can recall so many lessons and fine details from grade school schedules.  If you’re a teacher, thank you. You make an indelible impression on the lives you touch. Perhaps not every lesson is remembered by every student, but you live on forever in some of us.



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