My sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Slater, was the kind of teacher who inspired her students to want to succeed. She never had to raise her voice, but we all responded to her firm but kind tone. Mrs. Slater treated each student as an individual and found time each day to tell us not only what were were doing well, but how we made a difference in her life. Many times throughout my life I have thought of her and wished that I could tell her that she inspired me and made me want to be a teacher. Thanks, Mrs. Slater!
As a elementary-school kid I attended a public school where, due a lack of funding (or perhaps a lack of curricular will), non-academic classes like art or PE were not so much a systematic education in the riches of life to be found outside textbooks as they were a sporadic ritual meant to keep these subjects from fading entirely into oblivion. I was a fearful and reticent child, unwilling to participate in any physical activity more strenuous than Hide and Seek, but, though I routinely hid myself in right field to avoid all the action, no one seemed willing to fail me at kickball.
In seventh grade I started at Green Fields, where PE meant uniforms and weightlifting equipment and organized sports whose rules I’d never learned in a pickup game or club league, as other kids had. I was expected to make an effort, expected to demonstrate a good attitude, expected to succeed. It was a nightmare.
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