Every child who has been in school, has also been in a school play of one type or another. It is very common, especially in Kindergarten to have a class play. All the kids in the class are so excited as the practice session take place, and they can hardly sit still long enough to get through the necessary studies before it is time for play practice. It doesn’t really matter what part each child is to play…at least not in Kindergarten, because they are usually happy with any part. Often there is a line or two for the child to memorize, and when they say their line, they feel like it was a monumental accomplishment, and really, it was, because they have never done anything quite like that before.
I remember my Kindergarten play vividly…or should I say one part of it. I have no idea what the play was about, nor the part I played in it, but I vividly remember that when the teacher said it was time to line up for practice, I was running to be first in line. I made it too, several times, but it didn’t matter. The teacher always made me move back in the line to about the midway point. I never could figure that out. It seemed very unfair to me that even though I got there first, I was not allowed to keep my place in line. Thankfully the teacher was quite patient, because she had to tell me to move back to that same midway point every day. I suppose that if she had explained to me that there was a certain order that we had to line up in, I might have understood, but she never said that. She simply moved me back. The whole thing really wasn’t my fault either, because after all, when you lined up for anything else, it was first come first in line. So how was I supposed to know that this was different. All I knew was that I wanted to be first in line and the teacher wouldn’t let me. Thankfully, I just did as I was told, and didn’t cry. Now that would have been humiliating!! I don’t know if my teacher understood why she had to tell me over and over to move further back, or if she just thought I was a little ditsy, but she never got mad at me, and remained a favorite teacher throughout the years.
I never heard that my girls had such a problem with their pre-school and kindergarten plays, so maybe it was just me being a little ditsy, I don’t really know. What I do know is that I think I prefer being on the audience side of school plays far more than I did as an actress. I guess that means I’ll never be famous, or at least not a famous actress, but I can live with that. Through the years, I have enjoyed watching everything from plays to concerts at the schools…at least as long as they included my daughters or my grandchildren, that is.
As Spring approached each year, my Great Aunt Bertha Schumacher seemed to blossom right along with it. Her favorite flower was the Crocus, and while I can agree that they are beautiful, the fact that they last for such a short time, makes them a flower that I hadn’t really considered as a favorite, or even given much thought to once they had faded away for another year. Nevertheless, for Bertha, Spring was a time to feel alive again. The long winter was finally over, and she and her sister, Elsa reveled in the beauty of the flowers, as they drove their horse and buggy to school in the mornings. Bertha called the drive to school, one of her wildest joys, because the Crocuses were so abundant in the fields along the road. The view must have been amazing!
The Crocuses she would see around Boulder, Colorado later in life grew much taller in the mountains there, but on the prairie, they grew in sheets, and they were magnificent. I can only imagine how amazing they must have looked along the road as the girls went to school. It would be enough to give you a horrible case of Spring Fever when you got to school, and had to try to apply yourself to your studies. The only time I can remember seeing flowers that dominated a field was when my sisters and I visited our sister Caryl in Bremerton, Washington and we took a drive up to Bellingham for the Tulip Festival. That was magnificent, so I can somewhat relate to Bertha’s feelings on so many flowers in one place.
Another of Bertha’s favorite flowers was the wild Tiger Lily, which grew in “unbelievable abundance” in the lake country near their home in the Fargo, North Dakota area. The wild Tiger Lilies grew only where the ground had not been “turned by a plow” and in the 27 years the family lived there, they saw them completely disappear. The family occasionally saw the wild Tiger Lilies when they were driving home from Minnesota. They were always so tired, and then they would come up over a hill, and there would be a whole field of them., They got so excited. They stopped to pick some of them, and then go to enjoy them for days.
The only spring plant that Bertha thought was a worthy rival to the crocuses and lilies, was her mother’s strawberry plants. the strawberries were planted at the edge of the garden so they could be easily picked, and often the early ones were picked and eaten long before the main harvest. The strawberries grew so large that they could not hide among the leaves and were easy to see. Of course, as with any garden, there was weeding to do, but nobody seemed to mind, because as they worked, they were reminded of the luscious harvest to come. Great Aunt Bertha, and her sister, Elsa loved to garden in her later years too, and tried to transplant some of the wild Tiger Lilies and the wild Crocuses into their own garden in Boulder, but they just wouldn’t grow. I guess that some flowers will only grow where they choose, and not where we wish they would…unfortunately.
Most of us have a teacher that we would have to call our favorite of all the teachers we ever had, and I am no exception, but this story is about the favorite teacher I never had. You see, I couldn’t have had this teacher, because by the time she was born, I was already out of school. My favorite teacher I never had is my niece, Liz. I can’t say that I know anything about her teaching style, and I suppose you could call me biased, and you would be right, but she is nevertheless, my favorite.
Liz is also the favorite of many of her students, and when they leave her class, most are friends for life. Her students friend her on Facebook, and even go on trips with her later. She has traveled with one student’s family to Europe, and everyone had a wonderful time. Liz is simply a friend to all. And is loved by all who know her.
I know that her teaching style is great, because you don’t like a teacher who makes class boring, or is just a bad teacher in general. I do know that while she maintains an orderly class, it is also somewhat laid back. Maybe that is why her students work so hard for Liz. They try to excel. That is a quality that is so important in teaching. You have to be able to inspire your students. That is what Liz does.
As I have watched Liz through her years of teaching, I have found myself amazed at the love her students feel for her. I rarely heard of that before I began watching Liz do her teaching thing. Most kids, even if they liked their teacher, were still done with the teachers after school was over. And almost no one wants to spend time with the teachers after school is over…except Liz’s students. I think that is wonderful.
Liz is also the photographer for events, sports, the school paper, and the annual. That is a big responsibility, and yet a lot of fun, because she has the unique ability to get to know students that aren’t even in her classes. She is careful to include every student in the school annual, and as many other events as she possible can. Those kids couldn’t have a better photographer…I know, because she has done pictures of my family too, as well as my grandson and other family members in the school activities. Yes, she has taught her cousins and nieces and nephews…and they still love her too.
Yes, I am biased, but Liz is still my favorite teacher, even though I never had her as a teacher. She is a different kind of teacher…one who really cares about her students, and that is awesome…as any of her students would tell you. And having someone in this world who cares about someone they aren’t related to, teacher or otherwise is rare indeed. Happy birthday Liz!! We all love you!!