Lessons That Have Served A Lifetime
Dedicated to Miss Doris M. Patton and teachers everywhere who changes lives daily.
The intensity of our conversation was and is still a very positive experience as I reflect on it. I can remember talking with my Mom (she was working at the kitchen table doing food prep) about starting to attend public school like it happened yesterday.
My Mom, Dawn, was very pleased that her first-born was heading off for his first day in Grade One. I too was very excited and pleased. Being the extroverted one that I was and remain, first day represented friends to be made, lessons to learn, teachers to meet, and things to experience.
Little did I know, however, that within the first three weeks of school my Grade One teacher, Miss Doris Patton, would quickly find several key factors about me. Some that have positively defined me and help me with career choices, others that would define a couple of attributes that in her words, “These will challenge Michael and will hinder him. Perhaps be hard on him during his time in school. However, he has skills and gifts both in the classroom and in the playground that will serve him well, once he leaves school.”
At the time, I know did not know how those words would later ring true. Seems yours truly has some interesting combinations of talents and “issues.” I do not like, fact is I have strong disdain for, the common phrase or description of strengths and weaknesses. I am more of a “strengths and challenges” kinda person.
What Miss Patton so quickly identified, dedicated educator and very intuitive professional that she was, was my eye-hand coordination issue. Printing and writing to me was then and today remains a challenge.
“Slow down, practice more, not so fast, try another pen/pencil, try again… .” How many hundreds of times did I hear those instructions during the first 10 years of school. Later in life, in a state of serious frustration, I bought a typewriter with Pica font 10 point and extended carriage! I am so sure that many of my teachers who could now read what I put to paper breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Miss Patton’s skills and the lessons that I learned from her that have served me well over the years are:
- Pay attention to those around you. Each has gifts that often exceed ours in several categories or in different ways that we share.
- Pay attention to your intuition. Miss Patton figured this out about me in less than 20 days of classroom time. Her experience, her attentiveness and intuition. First rate.
- Third lesson and biggest of them all: Stay respectful. One never knows what the other person or persons we are living next door to or working with are facing. I never felt less than with Miss Patton.
This was a very big gift to give a child just starting out in school. Little did she know how much I would need to hang on to her words for Grade Two. But that is a story for another time. Miss Patton offered up to me untold patience, kindness and insights into my future and myself. I’ve always held her up as a first-rate example of what a teacher should be.
So until next time Imagine Yourself having more Resiliency for Life.