I Remember When…

On this weekend before my new adventure in teaching begins, I’ve been reflecting back on my own 2nd grade memories. It’s all part of getting focused on this big change in my teaching life — moving from 6th grade (which I’ve taught for 16 years), back to the primary wing of the school to teach 26 second graders. I actually have quite a few memories of my own 2nd grade experience…

  • My teacher’s name was Mrs. Mabey. We got a big kick out of that.
  • Joe Hoover sat across from me and had big, beautiful brown eyes, and I thought he was the cat’s meow.
  • Mary Lavisa Martin picked on me…especially at recess…all year! I was always kind to her anyway, because that’s what my parents told me to do with a person like that.
  • There were 36 kids in that class!!!!!!!
  • I made a new friend that year, named Renee, and she played the accordian, which was almost bigger than she was.
  • Mrs. Mabey screamed at me one day (I’m not kidding). It was the day we were coloring those Valentine’s Day packets in the photo, and I was alternating using my pink crayon and my red crayon while coloring the dancing lady’s dress. Mrs. Mabey got angry with me and screamed across the table that those two colors didn’t go together. I was mortified…and Joe Hoover (sitting right across from me) told me my face got as red as my shirt (which was bright red). I still can’t understand what the heck is wrong with coloring pink and red next to each other on a Valentine’s Day packet… My parents told me that Mrs. Mabey was “high strung,” and that pink and red ARE the colors of Valentine’s Day.
  • And speaking of coloring…one of my pieces of artwork that year won a school-wide contest and was framed and put up on the wall near the office. It was my “scarlet ghost with green eyes.”
  • I got into serious trouble with my parents that year when I took the bus home with a friend and didn’t tell anyone where I was going. They tracked me down and I remember how seriously my Dad explained why I must never, ever, ever do that again.
  • I loved school.

However, I’m wondering if Mrs. Mabey read aloud to us, because I can’t remember even one book. I remember read alouds from 1st grade and 3rd grade, but I cannot remember one read aloud from 2nd grade. Is it possible that Mrs. Mabey didn’t read to us?

All these memories will help guide me as a new 2nd grade teacher. I will never scream at any of my 2nd graders…and I’ll always let people know where I’m going to be…and I’m going to read a lot of books to my students this year!

15 thoughts on “I Remember When…

  1. jenclair

    You are right, the memories will help. Both good and bad ones have their own instruction, don’t they? One thing we won’t worry about: Whether or not your second graders will be read to!


  2. Bookfool

    Pink and red go great together. Your parents were very wise. Sounds like Mrs. M. needed a helper or two to keep her calm. πŸ™‚


  3. Gentle Reader

    I’m glad, after the pink and red coloring fiasco, that you won an art contest with a “scarlet ghost with green eyes”! I was worried that Mrs. Mabey’s “high-strung” screaming might have put you off art and creating, and that would have been a shame. (And, sadly, has happened to so many kids!)

    I’m with Jenclair, too–I’m sure your second graders will be read to!


  4. mom

    I remember Mrs Maybe, too. I remember the red ghost. It’s still with the family treasures.
    Second greaders are special. Have a wondeful year. There’s magic in reading. When they do it and when you do it.


  5. Kay

    What other colors would you use for Valentine’s Day? I’m puzzled. Did she think that red was for boys and pink for girls? My 2nd grade teacher was Mrs. Wilkie and she wore really old lady lace-up shoes. She was grumpy too. That’s about the extent of my memories of her.

    I know that you will be a blessing in these children’s lives. Read lots to them. It will make a difference. Good luck!!


  6. Robin

    jenclair, one of the things my students have really enjoyed over the years is that I always share those kinds of memories with them. They get a real kick out of the stories because they’re timeless and could just as easily happen in their own lives. It will be fun to see how this group of kids reacts to them.

    Bookfool, you’re right…pink and red DO go together, and I don’t remember any classroom helpers or instruction aides, or anybody to help her handle 36 second graders. When seen from that perspective, my heart goes out to her (except for the screaming at me part…).

    Gentle Reader, even though I have always thought twice since then about color combinations, she didn’t damage my love of art.

    Hi Mom, I’m so looking forward to that magic with these 2nd graders! Am I remembering correctly that my second grade year was your first year of teaching? Were you in the kindergarten at my school that year, or was it the next year?

    Thanks, Kay. Being read aloud to made a huge different in my own life, so I am definitely looking forward to reading to this group of munchkins. I’m wondering now if so many of those teachers were “grumpy” or “high strung” BECAUSE of those horrific class sizes back in those days. I know that having 34 sixth graders last year contributed to putting me on medical leave.


  7. Petunia

    All I remember about my second grade year is that I thought my teacher was the most beautiful woman and I called her Miss Maryland. I learned later that Maryland was not her name but that’s how I’ll always remember it. And we wrote books for a contest and I wasn’t allowed to finish mine because I was taking too long. I was so disappointed.

    Good luck with your first week. We start our homeschool this week as well.


  8. Robin

    Thanks, Petunia! Those wonderful memories and the disappointments last a lifetime, don’t they. Good luck with the beginning of your homeschool year, too.


  9. Sam Houston

    Your students are lucky to have you. I can tell. πŸ™‚

    My oldest daughter taught second grade for several years and love it. She’s moving down to 1st grade this year and is a little apprehensive about it but she’s happy that her class only has 14 pupils and believes that she will be able to get them all off on the right foot.

    Have fun.


  10. Robin

    Thanks, Sam! I’m really looking forward to this new adventure. I’m sure your daughter will enjoy her 1st graders, and having 14 students in first grade is a wonderful number. She’ll be able to do so much with them. Please give her my best wishes.


  11. Tara

    I’m impressed you remember so much! One of my strongest school memories is of getting into trouble with my kindergarden teacher Miss Schwartz because she caught me guess what – reading! – to the class and she said it would make the other children feel bad so I couldn’t do that.


  12. Matt

    I remember a fond but poignant memory . My 1st grade teacher “rollovered” to 2nd grade because the school wanted to ensured a smooth transition for the little ones. But the teacher, owing to some urgent personal matter that a 2nd grader like shall never comprehend, quit and a substitute teacher became a stand-in for the rest of school year. Girls in my class cried as if they have parted with their moms and got lost in the mall. Even when I think of that incident now I still nourish a wish to reunion with my 1st grader teacher!


  13. Robin

    Hi Tara. Oh dear…what a message to give a kindergartener! I have to believe that we have more enlightened teachers than Miss Schwartz or Mrs. Mabey these days! I’m glad she didn’t put you off of reading!

    Thanks, Matt. What a poignant memory of your 1st grade teacher! Children that age give their hearts to their teachers completely!


  14. heather (errantdreams)

    Your teacher screamed at you… for putting pink and red next to each other?

    You indeed have very kind parents, to have simply described her as ‘high-strung.’ Very memorable!



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