On my way home today, I remembered my fourth grade teacher. At the time, I was at P.S. 55 in Staten Island where the average class size was 45 (insane), and yet, somehow she made our entire class feel cared for. I have no idea how she pulled it off.
I would have remembered her anyway, because her class was the first time I remember showing guts and going for something. I went against my shyness, auditioned for her class musical, got cast as Golda in Fiddler, launching a multi-year Jewish identity (which confused everyone in my path).
But I’m lucky because I remember stupid little things like how we used to line up outside the classroom after lunch, gabbing and pushing each other, normal pre-teen stuff. One day, she walked up and raised her voice “And the coolest person here is…” which caused us to riot into two quiet, straight lines. When she reached the door, she turned to us and said “Don’t even bother, because the coolest person here is me,” followed by a huge smile.
For fourth graders, this was too funny, and we about died. Ugh, I just adored this teacher.