My third grade teacher was named Mrs. Fitzpatrick. She had short blonde hair, wore long skirts and bright sweaters, and never yelled. She said ‘magic your pencils’ when we were supposed to put them away.
I know now that she was probably the ‘lead teacher’ for 3rd grade—all the student teachers were paired with her. She’d been teaching a long time—she wasn’t young, and she’d been at our particular school for years…she knew the name of the boy they built the wheelchair ramp for.
She wasn’t a teacher who jumped around and sang funny songs…she didn’t have a memorable classroom (although we had a giant beige computer on which we played Oregon Trail). She had a voice I sort of recall, but it could be the voice of any of my elementary school teachers.
But she liked me. She laughed at stupid things I said when I was trying too hard to be funny. She asked me, “Lindsay, could you imitate me?”
I had to say no…
“Sorry, you’re…normal. Nothing stands out…”
But she was smiling and looking at me intently. She was HOPING I would have a Mrs. Fitz impression, and she was ready.
She called my mom when I struggled with something. My mom liked her. I was secure in her class—I liked being there and she liked to have me.
If any of you know her, wherever she is, let her know I think she was great.
I’m thinking of her today and wracking my brain, trying to remember details. Because I’m about to start teaching third grade. Is there some great, inspirational lesson I can glean from my few memories of Mrs. Fitz? How did she organize her papers? How did she arrange our desks? How did I go a whole year without getting into memorable trouble? (I know I was capable)…
That was twenty-something years ago. A couple decades from now, a group of young adults will be able to recall only a few things about having Mrs. Hunter for their third grade teacher…and that, more than anything, is why I’m praying all the time for them and for this year. I want those few memories to be good, positive, warm pieces of their histories.
If y’all could join me in praying for this year, I’d appreciate it…I, like a kid picking out a Star Wars backpack, am mere days away from a whole new chapter. I want everything to go so well…I’ve been prepping and reading and making lists…I bought khakis for the first time in ages. I got high heels, y’all.
Lord, make me a blessing to my kids. And bless Mrs. Fitz.
I have one more memory…we were watching some inspirational/educational film from the eighties, the content of which I have long forgotten. At the end, I remember her saying something like, ‘I’m just sitting here thinking about the great gifts and talents God has given all of you…” in a public school class. I was a hard-to-deal-with little girl, but God knew the teacher I needed that year.
Seriously, if you know her….?