Guest Writers

Mrs. Clayton #twits


I am excited to have Kelliefish13 as a guest blogger today. Kelliefish is an avid traveler. In fact, she went to Italy this summer and documented her many adventures and took many beautiful photos.

Kelliefish started her blog to work on her writing skills because she has some real challenges when in comes to writing; something she addresses in this post.

Kelliefish is one of the sweetest fishies in the sea. Thank you for being so honest, Kel, and for helping me with my project. When you are done reading her teacher memory, check out her blog HERE.

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Mrs. Clayton

Mrs. Clayton was my favourite teacher. I had her when I was about 7. She allowed me the freedom to be myself and gently guided me and encouraged me to do my best. I remember being allowed to take my writing book outside under the tree just outside the classroom to write poems about the plants I saw there; somehow she got me to read one of my pieces in front of the entire school (of about 100 students) which, at the time, was a miracle given how shy I was.

She was also the teacher with whom I realised some of my weaknesses. While waiting for her to mark another child’s work, I watched her read their work easily and then send them off with only a few suggestions for improvement, and then I stood beside her as I handed her mine. She looked at my writing and asked me to read it aloud for her. I noticed the difference, but once we finished with the exercise, she didn’t treat me any differently and gave me some suggestions to help to fix my spelling. What neither she nor I knew at the time was that I am dyslexic and, unlike some of the other teachers I have had since, she never made me feel like I wasn’t trying hard enough. She just accepted me as I was.

I remember how she let us put the daffodils we brought for her into dye pots so we could watch them change colour. I remember how she stood on a desk screaming while some boys with brooms chased an enormous rat out of our classroom. She taught us funny old songs that I still remember. Mrs. Clayton inspired me to become a teacher, and I hope that one day I can be as fabulous to my own students as she was to me.

What little moment can you remember from 2nd grade? Or any elementary grade?

• • •

If you have writing chops and are interested in submitting a piece of writing for #TWITS: Teachers Who I Think Scored / Teachers Who I Think Sucked, write a specific memory about one teacher you had and explain how that person helped you (or really screwed things up for you), as well as the life lesson you took away from the interaction.

Essays should be around 700-800 words.

Interested but have questions? Email me!

My information is under the Contact Me tab.

30 thoughts on “Mrs. Clayton #twits

  1. My 2nd grade teacher was fresh out of college and spent more time doting on certain girls and taking them home to her house to dinner than she did teaching. When she left in the middle of the year to get married I did not miss her at all and was glad to get a proper teacher.

    1. Taking them home to her house for dinner? That sounds really weird, I would never do that unless I was friends with their parents, and it would be the parents I was inviting not the child.
      My Grandma was really good friends with my J1 teacher (5-6years old) and I remember being highly embarrassed and not knowing what to do with myself when she came over for a party. She was another teacher who I adored but I liked her being at school in the role I knew.

  2. I honestly only remember one thing from second grade: One of my fellow students had a cap fall out (off?) during reading. That’s all I can remember. I remember more about pre-school and kindergarten than I do about second grade… How sad is that?

      1. It must have been. I can remember so much of first grade, third grade, fouth, etc, but second just doesn’t stick out in my head at all. I think the only interesting thing that happened all year was that I was in the “Gifted and Talented” program for math and science.

  3. Gee I love your teacher too! I can just imagine her up on the desk screaming!!
    I remember Sister Amadeo was my 1st grade teacher. I always thought that she looked like an angel!!

  4. I remember my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Church. But mostly I remember Jeff Friedman cutting off a fair bit of the back of my hair with some really dull scissors during the unit of Hawaii. That sucked.

    I wonder if he remembers doing that.

    He’s a lawyer now. Do you think it is too late to sue him? 😉

    1. That would have sucked! Probably a little late now, but you never know.
      I remember cutting my fringe at school one day when I was sick of it getting in my eyes, only to cut it waaaaaaay too short and having a sticky up patch for weeks afterwards. My Mum decided that looking like an idiot it was punishment enough… once she had stopped laughing.

    1. I moved around a bit too, this was my second school. But because I went to small town schools we usually had out teachers for two years in mixed year classes, which made each teacher easier to remember.

  5. Dear Kelliefish, Mrs. Clayton is the kind of teacher I still strive to be–even though retired. Kids need teachers who take them as they are, and then work to discover or let the students show why they do things the way they do, and finally figure out ways to help kids learn–regardless of learning issues. Last week, I had two students, second grade boys in different classes–one who needed to know that I noticed when he chose not to follow directions, and the other who needed me to “ignore” his acting out, to not react in the ways he was expecting. The first received a private check on a seating chart, with no mention of consequences, each time he chose to ignore directions. Three checks and he was in because he didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t know what else he could do–other than participate in constructive ways. The second child was trying so hard to engage me in a “pissing match,” and I chose to ignore the “pee” flying my way. No derailment in either class and everyone had a chance to learn. That’s all kids really want, a chance to learn in ways that are meaningful and un-embarrassing.

  6. One thing I forgot to mention, my sister had Mrs Clayton a few years after I did and for some reason they did not get on, at all! My sister wouldn’t do anything for her (she can be a little stubborn at times).

    I think in the end she ended up moving classes.

    For me she was the perfect teacher and I had a great year, for my sister it didn’t work out and she had a terrible year.

    I find it really interesting how different people react to different teachers.

  7. Oh, I so so loved this!! Thank goodness for teachers like Mrs. Clayton. I’m sure you’ll treat your students with the same level of equality and dignity!

    My second grade teacher was Mr. Proust. It was the early 70’s. He was my very first male teacher and I thought he was the coolest, hippest guy ever with his bell bottom dress pants and giant sideburns and mustache! At Christmas he gave all of us a pack of multi-colored pencils with words like “hip,” “mod” and “groovey” written on them. He spanked me nearly weekly in front of the class for excessive talking and my inability to stay in my seat, but I still loved the guy! 🙂

    1. He sounds like a very cool teacher! My only male teachers in primary (elementary for you?) were also my classmates Dads, much less cool.
      I would have loved those coloured pencils.
      I never stopped liking my teachers for punishing me when I knew I deserved it, in fact I respected them more. It was the ones who let me get away with stuff, I was quiet and didn’t generally disturb others so could get away with almost anything with some teachers, who I didn’t like or respect much.

  8. She just accepted me as I was.
    Outside my siblings, this happened only rarely to me growing up, which has led me to appreciate it greatly to this day. 🙂

    I have only a handful of memories from second grade: Learning sign language with a couple of other students in the class. Playing on the monkey bars. Drawing a 23-color rainbow and scoffing at the older student who suggested it might not be the most realistic rainbow portrayal around!

  9. All good rainbows should have 23 colours, or at least as many colours as you have coloured pencils.

    I greatly appreciate being accepted as I am too, and your right it only happens rarely.

  10. I don’t recall my second grade teacher that well. The one that made the largest impact on me was my fifth grade instructor, Mr. Straub. I can’t tell you exactly why, only that it was my first year at a new school and I always had a hard time making new friends and there was just something about the way he worked with us, treating us all as equals. He made a lasting impression on me and I have always held a fond place in my heart for him.

    Thank the stars for teachers like him, Mrs. Clayton and Mr. Proust. They are the kind of teachers our children need to have raise them up on a daily basis. Not all children are so lucky and not all systems see the problem, unfortunately. A bad teacher can scar a child for a very long time, causing damage that goes terribly deep.

    So, yay for amazing teachers that touch our lives! My son cried when school ended this last year because it was the last day with his 3rd grade teacher. It was beautiful.

  11. RASJ — always just RS to me. My lawyers have advised me to plead the 5th. I really have no memory of this at all. I can only assume your hair looked super awesome after I was done. I think you’re right, though. I was probably trying to hit on you. You blew me off and I had to try to make a second grade move on Marcy Goldberg.

    I do remember Ms. Church and liking her.

    I think my first real school memory is the third grade boy and girl of the week trip to BK. Second grade seems lost in the memory banks…….

    1. Jeff, I walked beside you on that trip to BK in 3rd grade. And by beside you, I mean I was about 30 feet behind you, but I was Girl of the Week when you were Boy of the Week. *sigh* You were so cute. Don’t you know about the secret JF Club? Members had to proclaim their affection for you and mention one thing they liked about you.

      I said I liked your black tooth. 😉

      Do you remember that?

      And everyone loved Mrs. Church. Duh. 😉

      Thanks for showing up.

  12. In second grade, our class did a play for the school based on a television show at the time called ZOOM.

    You probably don’t know it. It wasn’t big like Sesame Street or the Electric Company.

    I still remember the theme song: Come on and zoom. Come on and zoom zoom. (repeated twice.) Come on give it a try. We’re gonna show you just why. We’re gonna teach you to fly high!

    Yeah. Not as catchy as some other songs from the 70’s. But Mrs. Berke was an amazing teacher. I was in the first class she ever taught and I will remember her for the rest of my life.

    She’ll remember me as the girl who removed a smushed pumpkin from her little desk on the last day of school. It had been there since Halloween. So.

    Memorable. Indeed.

    1. I still remember a few on the songs I was taught that year, one was about the thousand legged word who kept losing a leg at a time and we had a challenge who could sing it all the way down from 1000. We all tried only a few succeeded.

      Was it your pumpkin that you brought in? I tried cutting a massive pumpkin that one of the children in my class brought in a few years ago so we could look at the different parts, it was really hard to cut and I made all the children laugh as I struggled to cut it. We got there in the end with a sharper knife after lunch.

  13. Thanks, Kellie, for sharing these wonderful memories with us, and I know you’ll be/are a fantastic teacher and role model!

    I had amazing teachers for 1st and 2nd grade, but the more memorable one was my slave-driver 4th grade teacher (“I have to prepare you for 5th grade!!!”) who made us all learn how to square dance. …This is Jersey, people. Our dancing doesn’t go in squares.

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