Something About Third

My son just "graduated" from third grade.  Before he entered third, I'd been told that this was THE year.  The transition year when school work becomes more focused and the foundation on which everything else is based.  I have to admit this made me nervous, so I reached out to his teacher early and my husband and I made sure that he if he needed help, he got it.  (And once again we were blessed to have a teacher who was there to work with us so that our son got the best third grade experience he could have.)

I  think third grade was special for him.  He's come away with a maturity and new found confidence (which I hope continues to grow).  I know my memories of third grade are still strong after all these years.

Those memories were reinforced by the fact that my son was in the same classroom as I was all those years ago.  While my third grade teacher was the stern Mrs. Williams, that same room is now occupied by the nurturing Mrs. R.  Going in for the first time in the fall for back to school night, the classroom seemed so much smaller than it once was.  The "big" teacher's desk that once dominated the front of the room is now off to the side (and again seems much smaller).  The classroom desks are now grouped together where they once formed a semi-circle around the room.  And the blackboard is gone; replaced by a white board.

There is no doubt that Mrs. Williams, my third grade teacher, made a big impact on me.  I remember I wanted to have her because she was strict and supposedly all the "smart" kids wanted to be in her class.  She always dressed "smartly;" her purse and shoes always matched.  She had very short blonde hair; style that fit her personality.  She graded her papers using colored Bic Banana pens:    I HAD to have those pens after seeing her use them.

She also used to read to us and to this day I can remember most of the stories.  There was "The Flight of the Doves" by Walter Macken, "Don't Take Teddy" by  , "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis, and "The Prince and The Pauper" by Mark Twain.  After she read them to us, I read them on my own.  And it was in third grade that I really started to love reading...when Nancy Drew became my best friend and constant companion during the summer.

I am sure my son will have memories like this of Mrs.  R and they will carry him through his life just as mine have.

What it is about third grade?  I don't know.  There's just something special about it and obviously it takes special people, like Mrs. Williams and Mrs R to make those memories that will last a lifetime.


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