I recently had to write my new teaching philosophy for my Elementary Education class this semester. Basically, we had to write about what kind of teacher we wanted to be using Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching as well as our own classroom experiences. This was not too difficult for me, as I frequently find myself reminiscing about my elementary days. Although I loved all of my Greenland Central teachers dearly, one year always seems to stick out the most for me. That year was 5th grade.
When the anxiously awaited class lists went up in August of 2007, I saw that I would have Mrs. Pratt as my teacher. This was the first and last time I ever feared the rumored “harsh” teacher. All I heard from the big kids was that she was strict and scary. However, I came to realize that the same kids who told me that Mrs. Pratt was mean were the same kids who never did homework and liked to act up in class. Being the teacher's pet that I was (and probably always will be), we got along just fine. She was strict, but I needed that. There were so many days that she took extra time to work with me one-on-one after school to make sure I wasn't falling behind. She went above and beyond and that is something I deeply respect.
I am filled with feelings of sweet nostalgia whenever I see apples. Mrs. Pratt's classroom was covered in them. And I mean, covered. Saying that she "liked" apples was an understatement. One day, my friend and I stayed after school to try and count all of the apple items she had and we lost count at around 400something. Some people found them overwhelming, but I found them to be quite comforting. Every time I see them, I am taken back to the days of 5P. Back to our daily readings of "The Sisters Grimm". Back to our end of the day sing-alongs to "Beep Beep" by The Playmates or "Through My Own Eyes", the theme song to "Liberty’s Kids", or the Preamble Song (which, by the way, I still know every word to;) from Schoolhouse Rock. I still clearly remember the day when Ryan, a boy from our class, printed the lyrics of “Through My Own Eyes” and brought in copies for everyone. Mrs. Pratt said if we focused and behaved well, we could end our lesson early. What motivation that was! We finished in record time, and spend the rest of the day with the lights off, sitting on top of our desks, watching the youtube video of the "Liberty’s Kids" theme song from the projector over and over and over and over. Memories like that are some of the memories I hold very dear to me.
Along with the songs, every day I looked forward to listening to Mrs. Pratt take our minds into the magical world of Sabrina, Daphne, Puck, and Gran. It wasn’t just the stories, though they were so very enticing, it was the way she read them to us. Her voice was so soothing, I could have listened to her read to us all day. We got through the first two books of the series throughout the year, but I had to read them all. On the first day of summer vacation, I dragged my Mom to Barnes & Nobel and bought the whole series. Years later when I started working as a camp counselor at an overnight girl’s camp, I dusted off the books and read them to my girls. I loved being able to share with them something that was so incredibly special to me and have them love and appreciate it as much as I do.
Thank you, Mrs. Pratt, for everything. For inspiring my love for those books. For being an incredible role model for myself as an aspiring educator. For making my 5th grade year one filled with days that put a sincere smile on my face. I hope that someday I can give my students the same memories that you gave to us.
Your #1 Student