Teaching can be a very cool thing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Someone asked me last week if I missed teaching. Now, I have to tell you. Averaging grades, filling out report cards and completing progress reports (when the news wasn't good) are things I most definitely do not miss. I would never have cut it as a bookkeeper.

But the actual art and craft of teaching is something I do miss quite a lot at times.

Writing the recent series of articles that profiled the county's top teachers reminded me of some of those highly satisfying moments in the classroom.

There were those heady moments when a classroom of students struggling with an irregular verb conjugation in French class suddenly, by George, finally &#8220got it.”

Seeing the grin on a kid's face when he realized, and even relished, the fact I was putting his critical thinking skills to use was pretty good, too.

I had a high school art student who absolutely insisted he could not draw hands, but I kept pestering him to keep at it, giving him new challenges. You know what? He learned how to draw a darned good-looking hand.

And all those happy little faces when I went to visit the elementary classes for their weekly art and music classes. Oh! I felt like their fairy godmother, able to bestow upon them the magic of color, line and shadow, of movement and song.

Last week, I was in and out of Fort Dale a number of times as I worked on the school tab you will find inside today's paper. I watched some of my third graders, now seniors, dancing and singing on stage as they rehearsed for &#8220South Pacific” (mark your calendars for the show dates).

I found myself recalling the joys of doing the limbo, singing &#8220It Ain't Gonna Rain No More” at warp speed, and teaching them dirty fingers were the sign of a busy artist as they learned how to shade.

Those were the days.

I met FDA teacher Mary Dearing's latest batch of third graders last week when I covered Miss GG's visit to the school.

When Miss Mary told her class I used to teach French and art at the school, there were lots of &#8220oohs” and &#8220aahs.”

Some of the youngsters asked me to speak French, so I tossed out a few phrases. Their eyes got huge. &#8220Wow!”

As one of my former students said, it's just so cool to know another language.

It's even cooler when you can share what you know and love with others and enrich their lives in some small way.

If I didn't have an autoimmune disorder that makes rest so difficult, and early mornings, downright painful for me, I think I would still be teaching.

And though I'm not in a classroom anymore, I'm glad to have the ability and opportunity to share with our readers the good things going on in all our schools.

If I can't teach, I can certainly be a cheerleader and champion for education.

So, to all you caring, creative teachers, aides, coaches, tutors and administrators out there – &#8220Wow!”

You're pretty cool.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.