Difficult as it is to recall the names of teachers,
Mrs. Hughes was my ninth grade English teacher.
In her class, I discerned that I wanted to be a teacher.
From her I learned kindness and compassion.
From her I learned the joy of grammar.
In her class, I learned to love learning. She had
the keys to unlock the mystery of grammar.
Still today, I love learning, reading, and writing.
She taught us the questions to ask when diagramming
sentences. How, when, where, why, and
to what extent. Sentence structure took
on new meaning as I diagrammed. And still does.
Around Thanksgiving, Mrs. Hughes needed
some help changing her bulletin board. I
volunteered and asked for black and white
construction paper and scissors to cut out Pilgrim
figures freehand. Mrs. Hughes was impressed
and told me her teacher daughter would love
my idea. She asked what pattern I had used for
the figures. It was my own creativity.
I didn’t know it then, but I was learning more
than English grammar and diagramming. The
instincts that Mrs. Hughes nurtured with her students
brought out the best in us. She valued us. She
listened to us and was patient. She smiled.
She had unconditional love for us. Amazingly.
I learned to use my creativity and ideas in my
own teaching career years later. I was
fortunate to be able to study in Heidelberg,
Germany for about three years. The icing on the
cake was learning aspects of language, literature,
culture, history, and geography. While
I did not diagram sentences in German, I
instinctively understood the grammar thanks
to Mrs. Hughes. This school year, I wish
for teachers to impart their own love of learning.