I had the chaotic yet fun privilege of covering Poplar Bluff’s first day of school this week, and that got me thinking about my own early school experiences. It’s amazing how much our early grade school years stick with us — once I found a few memories, more and more popped up.
I remember my best friend (Carly), my frenemy (Oakley), the boy I punched on the playground (Isaac — sorry for getting way too competitive at tag), the quietest girl in class (Jordan), and the boy who asked to see my loose tooth and then, without further ado, reached into my mouth and pulled it out (David).
As a side note, my kindergarten classroom used a stoplight to illustrate how good a student’s behavior was. If your name was clipped to the green light you could enjoy all of recess, yellow and your recess began with 5-10 minutes of time out, and if it was red you had to sit by the wall and contemplate your crimes. I chuckled to see the same system on the wall in our photos yesterday from Twin Rivers School District.
I also remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Dunn. My memories of her are full of big hugs and smiles. She passed away after a battle with cancer during my late middle school years, and it’s a testament to her that it still saddens me today.
A few years ago, her husband found a Longaberger basket my family gave her as a gift, with “I Love you” scribbled on the bottom in a first grader’s best handwriting. He returned it to my family, and my mom gave it to me. I treasure that little basket.
To all the Mrs. Dunns out there — thank you for making first grade and beyond so impactful.
Samantha Tucker is assistant editor at the Daily American Republic. She can be reached at email@example.com.