I was driving to work early in the morning and watching the misty scenery along the foothills of the Berkshires. I started to thumb through memories stored in the hard drive of my mind. A school bus went by and I envisioned the calm of my sixth grade classroom at Westview elementary in Avon Lake, Ohio. We sat in neat, orderly rows. My dear friend, to this day, Gillian, sat in back of me. My friends, Debbie Kendall, Jan Siebert, Tim Shuckerow sat across the aisle.
I’d watch the clock and at 5 minutes to every hour, Mr. Waltz would change the lessons. I looked forward to the days when Mr. Hinnerman would wheel his art cart into the room. Miss Conrad would come into the class for music. She’d blow into a round, metal object for a pitch and we delighted in singing Broadway show tunes…slightly off-pitch. They have all died. But they live on in my memory. Why? Because, the touched my life as educators and opened windows of discovery for me. They are eternal.
At lunch we’d grab our Roy Rogers or Barbie tin lunch boxes. I had a Mickey Mouse Club lunch box. I had a crush on Cubby. We’d sit in the lunch room at long, narrow tables that folded down from the walls. At recess, we’d gather on the monkey bars and talk and talk and talk. We’d skip rope in teams and laugh and laugh and laugh.
After school, it was a treat to go home on the bus with a friend and have snacks at her house. I was a “walker” and felt jilted because I couldn’t ride the bus. Riding the bus was the ultimate elementary school adventure for me. It was fun exploring new neighborhoods and making friends. My mother would pick me up in the family station wagon around 5pm. I suppose my friend’s mother had had enough of the little girl giggles and screams.
Thinking back is like driving throuh the mountain mist. The 2008 elementary or middle school classroom has changed. Computers are in the classroom. The students communicate electronically. The text message on the playground. The Technology of the 21st Century has changed things. If I would have had the same electronic tools the kids have now, I probably would have understood math and not come away from k-12 with a low self-esteem. But, I don’t think I would remember Mr. Waltz, Mr Hinnerman and Miss Conrad like I do.
My conclusion to this thought … WEB 2.0 – BRING IT ON! Let today’s students have their own means of socialization and form their own memories with different cues. I’m having fun learning about their academic culture. It’s keeping me young…but I still enjoy my misty ventures back into my sweet memories of those educators of yore. Ah, those were the days.