Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Childhood Influences

My elementary school years were filled with wonderful teachers who were a positive influence on my life.

Mrs. Collins, my fourth grade teacher, was one of my favorites. Looking back, I don’t think phonics was ever on the official curriculum at my school. 

That didn't stop Mrs. Collins. She taught phonics anyway with enthusiasm and a creative flair that often resulted in boisterous sessions filled with laughter and fun.

She introduced me to all sorts of mental tricks for spelling accurately. Her mnemonics helped me navigate the English language. 

Her enthusiasm nurtured my budding fascination with expression through the written word, and I soaked up her every word as gospel.

One afternoon she asked another girl and me to stay and help with some after-school tasks. We worked hard, thrilled to be asked. When we were finished we happily basked in our teacher’s praise and appreciation.

In those days I was an extremely skinny, shy, conscientious rule follower. Somewhere along the way that year, I had gotten the impression that at the end of the school day, we were supposed to take every single one of our textbooks home and study. 

For weeks my school day ended with me packing my book bag and lugging all my textbooks the five or six blocks home. That day, though, I blurted “Could I leave some of my textbooks in my desk?”

“Oh, honey, you don’t need to take all your books home,” Mrs. Collins said, and gave me a hug. I listened, stunned, as she explained that she had been encouraging those students who NEVER took a book home and regularly failed to complete homework assignments. 

I went home happy that day with no textbooks, just a couple of books I was reading for fun. Those for-fun books were nearly as hefty as some of our textbooks. 

But they didn’t seem to weigh anything at all!



  1. It is teachers like her that make the world go round! I believe without them, there would be a lot more depressed people.

  2. A good teacher can set the tone for our lives.

  3. what a great teacher and I am totally impressed that you remember your teacher and this story. I have only 2 memories from my first 3 grades nad can not remember a single teacher from 1st through 7th grades name. or anything they taught

  4. Linda, this is so delightful. It's so gratifying to have a teacher that loves to spark the students minds and guides them every step of the way.
    What a wonderful memory.

  5. What a blessing she was. Of course it did put a halt to your muscle building:) I think we all have one or two that strongly influenced our lives.

  6. That is funny about taking all books home...I walked close to a mile to and from school...most of it on the railroad. Packing that many books would have been horrible. But I did have one teacher that taught 3rd and 4th grade that made students take at least one book home. If I didn't actually have any homework, I took the spelling book since it was the smallest. LOL

    I am slowing catching up with what I have missed on your blog.