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Teacher Appreciation: Thank you, Miss Catherine



Joined: 7/12/2012
Posts: 9
readarose
The year was 1957.Sixty-one desks on wooden runners were occupied by at least as many third graders. Instead of the usual intimidating nun standing in the front of the room, the class focused their gaze on a petite young woman with dark-cropped hair and friendly blue eyes known as Miss Catherine.

From the start, I knew third grade would be memorable. Miss Catherine had the ability to generate excitement and infuse her lessons with novelty and fun. To be sure, I learned to write in cursive, master the multiplication tables, and memorize a myriad of poems. But Miss Catherine was a woman ahead of her time. She recognized the power that she held in her hands and used it to tap into her students’ potential.

The classroom was Catherine’s stage, and when the curtains opened each day, the lessons I learned in her room, shaped not only my mind, but ultimately my life. How well I remember bringing a napkin and silverware to school so we could practice our table manners. How well I remember hanging onto her words during religious instruction each afternoon. The moral code embedded in those lessons soon embedded itself in my heart. Mostly, however, I remember The Bookcase…the three-shelf bookcase that appeared in the back of the room mid-way through the school year. Miss Catherine announced that we would have a classroom library and I could hardly contain my excitement! There was no library close to our home and the Nancy Drew books I adored were $1.00 each at Woolworths. To my delight, an unending supply of Nancy Drew books, lived side-by-side with classics like Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows. Access to a variety of books enabled me to explore and delight in new worlds. Before the term “whole language” ever entered educational vernacular, Miss Catherine knew that exposing children to rich literature and allowing them choice, were the magic bullets to creating lifelong readers. At the end of third grade, I bid Miss Catherine farewell. When school opened the following year, she was no longer on the faculty.

My love of reading provided the impetus for me to become a teacher. In 1992, I was teaching third grade at a small parochial school. In August, I met our new principal. Mrs. McGough shook my hand and led me into her office. Naturally, she asked me to tell her about myself. When I mentioned that I had attended St. Athanasius grade school,her blue eyes twinkled. “Who was your third grade teacher?” she inquired. She chuckled when I responded, “I had Miss Catherine.” “I am Miss Catherine” she replied, “and you must be Rita Rookstool”.

Life offers many gifts. For five years, my former third grade teacher, Miss Catherine, was my principal and friend, continuing to affirm, challenge and teach me. Thanks to Miss Catherine, my own classroom was never without a “library” and the culmination of my teaching career was when I became a Reading Specialist.
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Comment by warren


Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Congratulations on having the luck of the draw--from teacher to principal to friend!
Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2015 5:46:12 PM
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Comment by thiegsr


Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire StageofLife.com editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Teacher Appreciation essay being chosen as our winning adult essay for our May 2015 writing contest.

We will be contacting you about prize details via your registration email.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Thiegs
StageofLife.com Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:46:34 PM
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Comment by readarose


Joined: 7/12/2012
Posts: 9
Thank you so much. I was delighted to be chosen a Stage of Life winner for the second time. As an educator, I believe the Stage of Life site has much to offer a vast variety of people. I'm proud to be a contributor and encourage others to share their stories.
Posted: Friday, June 19, 2015 12:15:58 AM
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