At the end of my fifth summer I was sitting on the cement wall that framed our garden and asking my friend Kathleen to tell me all about kindergarten at Rees Elementary, where I’d be starting in just a few days. Kathleen was a year older, which made her a wise and valuable advisor. She told me about story time, play times, work times, rest times, and, best of all, snack time and recess. With new clothes inside and out, I was eager and excited for the first day of school, and I was not disappointed. My classroom was large and inviting, and I was thrilled that the tables, chairs, sink, fountain, and even the toilets were just my size—little details Kathleen forgot to mention. Mrs. Lee, my teacher, was caring and encouraging, and I felt happy in school from day 1.
On day 1,295—a lot taller and a little wiser—I graduated from the sixth grade at Rees with a love for learning and for teachers that still enriches my life.
Now in my 40th year as a teacher, I remember with great appreciation each of the teachers who cared for me, challenged me, and helped me discover the joys of learning something new. I’ve had too many teachers to mention, but it all started at Rees. Thanks to Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Amstead, Miss Pat, Miss Hansen, Mr. Harris, Mr. Fox, Mr. Jex, and Mr. Peterson.
Brookfield said, “We teach to change the world.” I’ve learned this is true. Teachers do change the world. They changed mine."