I started this school year off sitting through in service the same as I always do.
But, one thing was different. Our new Superintendent Dr. Fuller, challenged us to think back to a certain teacher that made a real positive influence in our lives.
I knew for sure who I would pick... but I was not really sure why.
I always loved my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Raines, the best out of all of my teachers.
To be honest, I really did not like 2nd grade at all. I was the chubbiest girl in my class, not the sharpest crayon in the box, and did not really have a friend to call my own.
I spent that year hopelessly devoted to Michael Paul (front row, far left in space uniform) who was unfortunately not so in love with me. I know this because he gave me the nickname, Tubby Tabby. Ouch! But, he was not heartless. His heart just belonged to Tracey (front row, far left). Never the less, I chased him around the playground... and he chased her. One day, out of pure rage and jealousy, at recess I threw a rock at him. Mrs. Raines never sent me to the principal's office, my guilt was enough punishment.
In general, life was awkward and I did not have a whole lot of self esteem.
But Mrs. Raines saw something in me that nobody else had seen. As an artist and teacher, I get asked a lot by my students, "When did you know you were an artist?".
I tell them 2nd grade.
That is because of Mrs. Raines.
My first grade teacher, Mrs. W (I tried to forget her last name, and her long flesh digging fingernails),
did not make me feel like an artist. I do not remember her seeing any good in me at all. All she saw was the negative and that was all she gave in return. But 2nd grade brought new hope to my life. I remember my first picture that was on display. It was big eyed green alien. I loved the color green and had a soft spot for rare and strange creatures. As it hung in the room for parent/teacher night, I felt pride for the first time. I remember my mother coming, along with all the other parents, to this special evening in the classroom. We were all supposed to independently read a poem by Shel Silverstien and act it out. I was assigned "Lazy Jane". Now, like I stated before, I was not the sharpest girl. But, I think that Mrs. Raines gave me just the right poem for what she knew I could do. It was long, which made me feel very important. But, she did give me one that was simple as well. Just her doing this makes me realize how she thought about us as individuals. She took our abilities and egos to heart, being careful not to set us up for embarrassment.
Here is the poem. I still remember it by heart and will type it without even looking it up.
Lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy Jane.
She wants a drink of water so she
waits and waits and waits and waits and waits
for it to rain....
I not only read Lazy Jane, but I read it was great genius... or at least that is the way I remember feeling about my performance. I remember laying on the ground, reading the words and at the end, opening my mouth up really big pretending to wait for the rain.
|I am the big girl, third from left on the middle row.|
This was the year I felt like somebody special, because Mrs. Raines made me feel life a star.
She made me feel good at something and it made it easier to focus on the good things about myself and elementary life. Kids still picked on my up until 5th grade, when I lost some of my weight and got a clue about my appearance.
This was also the first year I won the big art contest, Houston Rodeo Art.
This was the picture I created below in Mrs. Raines class that year.
We all went to the Houston Livestock show to see it on display... oh, and to see the Rodeo of course.
Life's roads took me down the same road to being a teacher, just like Mrs. Raines.
I try to remember to take the time to look deeper into my students, to pull out their best
while considering how they all have different abilities.
I am forever grateful to Mrs. Raines. Without her to encourage me and see the best in me, I may not be where I am today.
God Bless Mrs. Raines and all teachers like her.
Read and see more about this special lady in my autobiographical comic...