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March 11, 2017

I wasn’t aware of it till I had children of my own decades later, but 4th grade was a very important year for me.

This was the year I had one of the few teachers that got me or at the least realized that I didn’t learn in the same way as other kids. I joke that these days she would have likely got in trouble for some of the things she did to me and a couple other students.

Mrs Neighbors was a tiny little spitfire, the beginning of the school year she had a broken leg which I believe made her seem even more formidable. It certainly didn’t slow her down.

My parents were in the middle of a less than amicable divorce. Mrs Neighbors was made aware of this but instead of pity I was given encouragement. When I couldn’t sit still and concentrate she would put me under her desk. There I wasn’t staring off in space  or watching out the window at absolutely nothing. When I had to be in my desk and she caught me wondering off my nickname was Cricket (can’t sit down or shut up) or there was a flick of her finger against the top of my head.

Other teachers in my 12 years just threw up their hands. She doesn’t apply herself, she is lazy, if she would just pay attention. I get there wasn’t much awareness back then but thankfully there were a few that understood nit all children learn the same.

My appreciation for Mrs Neighbors is why our shop children’s room is named after her. I only saw her once after I left Casa View Elementary and I wish I had known then her impact on me at the time. She is gone now but maybe she knows.

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