I love walking through the building with people who went to school there. It is amazing what some people still remember from when they were in kindergarten, first and second grade, but it never fails. When people get in the building and start walking the halls, stories start coming.
"That was Mrs so-and-so's room..."
"I played Little King #3 in the school's production on this stage..."
"This is where we sat for lunch every day..."
However, I had never toured the building with a teacher before. Jackie Dauw taught at Webster Elementary School from 1960 to 1992, when she retired. She has seen a lot in that building. She told great stories about students who had come and gone, important moments in history as a teacher, watching the district implode over racial integration. She talked about how the neighborhood had changed. When she started, her students were the children of executives, often overwhelmed by the expectations their parents put upon them. By the end of her career she had a list of students she had to call every morning to make sure they got out of bed, and a stack of dollars in her desk to fund lunches.
I don't know if they don't make teachers like they used to, or if they don't let them be teachers like they used to, but you very much got the sense, as you were listening to her, that she had a real love for what she did. She still remembered students names, had funny stories about other teachers, and a real fondness for the neighborhood. Her students left an impression on her and I am sure she left an impression on them. And, in the short time that she took out of her day to walk the building with me, she left an impression on me.
Tuesday, May 4th was National Teacher Appreciation Day. Today, I am grateful for Jackie Dauw.