Meeting Mrs. B.

I can’t believe it! I am the proud momma of a Kindergarten graduate!

The Young One did not have a formal graduation ceremony like she did when she said good-bye to preschool. Instead, she dressed up like a flower, said she wanted to be a basketball player and accepted a certificate of accomplishment from her very first elementary school teacher.

Mrs. B. holds the microphone as my little flower announces her life's dream of playing basketball.

Mrs. B. holds the microphone as my little flower announces her life’s dream of playing basketball.

I know that sounds like a strange way to advance to the next grade level, but that is essentially how it went down. We started the momentous evening with an entertaining production of “How Does Your Garden Grow”–a choreographed event which included all five Kindergarten classes and a select group of first graders. The boys dressed as vegetables. The girls were flowers, and a few rebels opted to portray weeds in this story of Farmer Herb and his overgrown garden.

My dear child had the misfortune of having an extremely stressed out mother with no clue how to craft a flower costume on less than two weeks notice. However, said momma was quite resourceful and turned to Etsy for emergency assistance. The Young One eagerly dressed all in green, wrapped the purchased (yet still handmade) felt arrangement around her face and called herself a flower. (I hid my head in shame as I saw the more elaborate costumes parade into the gymnasium.)

When the singing and dancing was over, all the performers, parents, grandparents and siblings crowded into the classroom for a celebration of the Kindergarten Class of 2014. We watched a slideshow, ate cookies and listened as each member of the class told us what they wanted to be when they grew up. The Young One, who blames me for not signing her up to play basketball, naturally proclaimed that to be her greatest desire in life. *sigh*

Next came the “diplomas” and a roundup of class accomplishments from the class’s teacher, Mrs. B., whom I have come to know as the soft-spoken yet fearless leader of the wild, willful and whiny children who have spent the past nine months as the Young One’s closest companions.

I first met Mrs. B. during Kindergarten orientation in August. She stood in front of the group of adults who were forced to teeter on miniature chairs and assured us that our children would survive that ominously looming first day of school.

She spoke softly about sight words and math facts and the manners that she would instill in our children. By June, she said, our over-active children would be able to sit quietly for extended periods of time, count to 100 and read a book from cover to cover.

None of us believed her.

How could this mild-mannered woman possibly manage to corral, let alone educate, 28 five- and six-year-olds? I envisioned a plethora of chaos and anxiety in this poor woman’s future.

Yet, the night before this spectacular end-of-year celebration, the Young One announced that instead of me reading her a bedtime story, she was going to read me one…, and she did. I held the book while she used a little pointer finger as a guide. She paused a few times to sound out a new word, but in the end, she did it! My little girl read me the story of how Biscuit, the little yellow dog, won a prize at the pet show.

It was the best story I’ve ever heard.

I’m glad to have made Mrs. B.’s acquaintance. She has had a profound influence on my daughter’s life, and, I believe, instilled a love of learning in my daughter and her 27 classmates.

Thank you, Mrs. B! We’re off to first grade. We will miss you, but we’ll never forget you!

Who was your most influential teacher?

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