So many times in my life, people have asked what teacher influenced me more than any other. My answer is immediate and certain- Mrs. Harmon, 6th grade, Mount Zion Elementary.
I was 11 and you were 110. Okay, actually you were probably in your early 40's but I thought you were ancient. The first few days of school, you were super strict and I thought that the year was going to be horrible!
but then, something happened. You asked us to write. We wrote... a lot. One assignment in particular was to write as if we were an inanimate object in the classroom. I don't actually remember what I wrote about that day, but I remember Eric Morris stood up in front of the classroom and talked about being an eraser! (Why I remember that, I have no idea!) I truly believe my love for writing began in your classroom.
We had "club time" in your classroom. You allowed us to create a Nancy Drew Mystery Club and even created some mysteries for us to solve. We had a Shakespeare club and read MacBeth out loud (The only way anyone should read Shakespeare!) You even allowed us to have a Bible club! You were so creative in your teaching, that we didn't even know we were learning!
We created a nature trail behind the school, slashing and slicing through the woody underbrush. We also put together a jump roping show and did tricks to the "popcorn song" and to The Lion Sleeps tonight".
I love the fact that we didn't lose track of each other through the years. I visited your classroom a few times, saw you at some art shows, and we corresponded back and forth through the mail occasionally. You began to sign your letters, "love, Joan", but I could never quite convince myself to ever call you anything but Mrs. Harmon. :)
I know that I have told you this before, but I need to tell you again... you made a difference in my life, a big difference. Thank you for feeding the creative spark that you saw in me. thank you for pushing for excellence, and thank you for encouraging me, even when that excellence wasn't quite there.