Although Bernadette fondly remembers her kindergarten teacher, my daughter once told me she began thinking about becoming a teacher when she was in Debbie Gossard’s third-grade class at Riley Elementary School in Frankfort.
Bernadette said that Mrs. Gossard was kind, good-humored, witty, and always had a smile on her face.
But the most important thing that Bernadette remembers about Mrs. Gossard was the classroom environment she lovingly created.
“I always felt that we were all safe in her classroom,” my daughter shared with me once upon at time. “We could all be ourselves. We were all accepted and loved.”
And then there is the enthusiasm.
I saw that enthusiasm in Mrs. Carey’s eyes and heard it in her voice 52 years ago in my kindergarten classroom.
And I see that same enthusiasm in Bernadette’s eyes and hear it in her voice now.
These kindergarten teachers, and I have known many, all seem to be cut from the same beautiful cloth.
And so, just a few days ago, my daughter was in the kitchen putting together a substitute binder with classroom instructions, who to contact in case of an emergency, and a page for the yet unseen daily schedule, and the like.
And today, off to the Dollar Tree we ventured, where all sorts of classroom bulletin board items awaited in the teacher section.
And I have just got to believe that along with images of woodland creatures and trees swirling around in Bernadette’s mind, she is also pondering how to create that classroom environment, that environment where all are safe, accepted and loved.
Alvia Lewis Frey is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.