It was a post by someone from my hometown. It was a photo of my first grade teacher celebrating her 95th birthday! I have not seen this teacher in many years but she looks the same way I remember her, just of course a few years older. Immediately, I paused to smile and reflect on the memories of 180 days in her class room.
Over my lifetime, I have had many teachers. I have encountered people who have taught me life lessons and those who have taught me academic as well as music lessons. Mrs. Ruby was one of those teachers who taught all of us so much more then how to read and write. Mrs. Ruby is a teacher who influences the way I teach today. I hope she continues to influence me for many years to come. Everyone was equal in Mrs. Ruby's classroom, she loved all of us. I will never forget a time in which she wrapped her arms around a boy in our class to give him a giant hug. This young boy was not being nice to others that day and well, he did have a history of not being so nice. Mrs. Ruby did not care, she hugged him and said something to the effect of the reason he was not being nice is probably because no one had hugged him yet that day. I remember being in shock that this had taken place. Shock not because she gave someone a hug in a public school (which we all know could never happen today), I was shocked that the boy was not sent to the principal's office again. I did not understand it at the time, but now I do. Sometimes children just need to know that someone loves and genuinely cares about them. My teaching philosophy is if a child feels comfortable and can fully trust the teacher, then the true in depth learning occurs.
Mrs. Ruby is the teacher who suggested to my mother that I have my eyes tested, a few weeks later I walked into school with a brand new pair of glasses. I of course did not like wearing the glasses. No worries, Mrs. Ruby gave me a big hug and told me that I was even more beautiful when I wear glasses.
Thank you Mrs. Ruby! I hope you have a beautiful 95th year! My gift to you is to continue to teach and influence others in the manner you influenced me.