I just discovered that my 4th grade teacher will be stepping into retirement at the end of this school year. I’ve also heard that her battle with cancer has been reinstated. The school is putting together a book in her honor and all her students were invited to write something for her. I’m so glad for the opportunity to express my appreciation for the impact she has had on my life. Her name is Mrs. Jacobsen. I learned some valuable life lessons from my 4th grade teacher.
I remember the girls would braid each other’s hair during class and I felt that I was missing out. My friend, John Rogers, had an impressive mullet and I told him that if he was a true friend he would let me braid his mullet. I was not about to ask a ‘girl’ if I could braid her hair … they had ‘cuties’.
John was reluctant but I convinced him that ‘everyone’ was doing it. He could enjoy the class and I would continue being his friend. I had about 3 inches to work with and this took a little extra attention. Naturally, when Mrs. Jacobsen asked me to answer the question I was at a loss for words.
When Mrs. Jacobsen saw the reason for my distraction she burst out laughing. Everyone laughed… except maybe John. (Sorry John) I laughed, we all laughed. It amazes me how human beings will do almost anything to feel like they ‘fit’ in.
The thing that impresses me most is the fact that I was a socially sensitive child. I was very self-conscious and yet she never made me feel stupid, singled out or embarrassed. Despite my silly behavior, I knew she thought well of me. I felt that she appreciated me individually more because she saw my unique personality. She appreciated me for being me.
Fitting in was a very big deal to me in grade school, Mrs. Jacobsen taught me not to take myself too seriously. She taught me that being different can be a very good thing. After all, she was an unusual teacher; unusually kind, unusually attentive, unusually effective in keeping my attention. I may have had a crush on her… 4thgrade boy + pretty teacher = what can I say? 🙂
It is not the usual people or events that make life meaningful. In truth, we are all unusual… so many of us are hiding from ourselves. I think it’s time to quit hiding and be ourselves. Mrs. Jacobsen was one to appreciate the real you, no matter who that was. Her classroom was a place where we could be ourselves and learn essential life skills that went so much deeper than writing and arithmetic.
As this school year comes to a close; I’m happy to know that her time at home will be spent perpetuating the gifts talents she has always given.
Thank You Mrs. Jacobsen!