There was this teacher long ago. She took an interest in me when I felt like I was invisible in a sea of a half dozen other McKenna kids. Yes. We were THAT Irish Catholic family.
It was back when we grouped kids in reading groups with names like the Eagles, Redbirds, and Buzzards. I’m pretty sure I was a Buzzard. I had to go across the hall to scary Sr. Andriana for what I now can assume was some sort of remedial reading lessons. Looking back, I was not a good reader.
But then Miss Andrasco SAW me. I wasn’t just one of the McKenna kids. I was Karyn. I spelled my name differently and wasn’t that cool? I’ll never forget learning cursive letters. I was in awe of Miss Andrasco’s perfect Palmer method letters on the chalkboard.
She took the time to personalize lessons by having us practice writing each others’ names. But Karen was a popular name in my second grade class. At its most popular, I think there were six of us. KarEn…with an E was the most common spelling so that’s what we practiced. But I spelled my name with a Y…and I don’t know if you remember, but cursive Y is tricky. It has that extra connector hump. I’m sure it wasn’t scheduled to be taught for another few weeks.
But Miss Andrasco knelt down beside me and taught me how to write that Y in my own private lesson. That sealed the deal. I wanted to be a teacher JUST. LIKE. HER. Nothing less would do. I would remember all the kids’ names for years and years. I would call them by name when I saw them 5, 10, even 20+ years later and ask how each of their siblings was doing. I would go to their mother’s wake and say what a lovely woman she was. She didn’t have to do that. My family hadn’t seen her in more years than I can count. But honestly, that’s just the kind of class act that Miss Andrasco is.
I think about this a lot when I feel like I’m starting to lose my way. She made a difference to me…for me. If I can make a difference to just ONE child, maybe her life would be altered in some way as mine was. Big shoes to fill but it is a possibility.
I am writing for the Two Writing Teachers March Writing Challenge