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Every Life is a Story
    A place to share my own family stories

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Teacher Moments

I taught second grade for three years before I became a mother and decided to stay home. I loved teaching, with all its ups and downs. Of course, I found that telling stories in the classroom was a powerful way to not only teach, but to get good behavior! The class always settled down for a story, and when I found myself with five minutes to spare, then I started telling a story.

I was stunned when I did the math and realized that all of the children that had been in my classroom had graduated from high school. I did NOT feel that old. How could they have grown so fast?

A few years ago at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, I was sitting in the crowded audience at the Scera Shell Theater waiting for Laughin' Night to start. It's a chaotic time, with people showing up hours early to get good seats. I was surprised when a lovely young woman came up to my seat from the crowd.

"Are you Mrs. Barnson?" she asked.

Surprised, I said, "Yes...."

She smiled, "I don't know if you remember me, but you were my second grade teacher. I'm Alicia..."

How could I forget her? She was in my very first class and she was lively and smart, and loved talking and doing things- something that sometimes got her in trouble. But only sometimes. Her home had burned in the middle of the school year and she had lost everything. I made very little as a schoolteacher, and was paying to put my husband through school. Money was VERY tight, but I had wanted to do something to help her situation. I used my scholastic book order points to get her a book. I'd wished I could do more...

"Alicia?! Look at you! You're so beautiful!" I really think that the joy you feel when you are reunited with someone after a time away from them is what it's going to feel like in heaven. It was a joy to see her.

"I just wanted you to know that I remember you telling us stories. It's why I come to the festival every year with my mother. I'm studying to be a teacher, and I want to tell stories to MY students. Oh, and I'm getting married!" she smiled and showed the diamond on her finger.

We talked for a little while, and she went back to her seat. I waved to her mother, a truly wonderful lady. I was stunned. There are teachers who teach for decades and never hear from any former students. I had only taught three. Hardly enough to be considered anything more than a beginning teacher. I had never expected such a gift. My stories really had made a difference.

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"To be a person
is to have a story to tell."

- Isak Dinesen  

 
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