Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Miss Stretchberry - My 1st Slice of Life post

Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth of Two Writing Teachers


Last night as I was reading through my Twitter feed I saw this tweet:

I paused for a few of reasons. First, anytime I see Sharon Creech tweet anything, I pay attention. One of the powers of twitter is, for me, the fact that I can communicate with one of my favorite authors on a daily basis. Two, I pondered if I was a “Stretchberry”. I hoped so. Love that Dog is one of my favorite books. I love reading the conversation between Jack and his teacher. I love that she inspires Jack to become more.

That led me to my final thought, had I been taught by a Miss Stretchberry? I would say a resounding yes. In response to Sharon Creech’s tweet, I sent this out.

Ms. Tuck was my first grade teacher. I think it was her first year of teaching. I idolized her. I clearly remember her clothes; she wore button down shirts, untucked, with a narrow belt around her waist. I remember asking for button down shirts and skinny belts for Christmas so I could dress just like her. What must she have thought of this six year old who was trying to be her? I don’t remember much of what she taught but more how I felt. Special. I felt that she loved me. I wanted to impress her. Was continually striving to do my best. I remember her giving me book after book to read.

Even after I left her room, she still sought me out. When I was a second grader I read the book The Monster at the End of this Book. I loved it. Miss Tuck came to me and asked if I would mind visiting her classroom and reading the book to her first graders. I don’t know how she knew I was reading that book or why she asked me, but what an important day that was.


First, I practiced reading it aloud. I lined up my stuffed animals in my bedroom, pretended they were my students. Read it aloud over and over. I would hold up the book as I read just as I saw my teachers do. I was nervous but so excited.

Then the day came. I sat in the front of her students, they sat on the floor. I read my book to them making sure to make my voice as expressive as possible. They laughed along as I read. Wow, it almost felt like power. I was reading and the kids were listening, enjoying, connecting. I left that room liking that feeling with the seed planted. I wanted to read to kids when I grew up. I wanted to make them laugh. I wanted to teach.

So I thank Sharon for making me take a trip down memory lane last night. I think of Miss Tuck often. I hope I am creating the same environment in my classroom that she did in 1980-81 in my first grade class. A room full of responsibility, wonder, possibility, and love. Thank you Jan Tuck for wanting me to do more.

24 comments:

  1. Oh, yes, you are a Stretchberry and Ms. Tuck was/is one also. Beautiful post.

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  2. Welcome to the slice of life community!! I follow sharon creech on twitter as well! I also wish that I am a Miss Stretchberry. I love reading aloud Love that Dog and Hate that Cat in my class! Glad to hear that you had your own Miss Stretchberry in your life.

    Jee Young

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  3. What a beautiful post. I love the image of you as a young girl, reading to an audience of stuffed animals.You are reading to them because somebody made you feel special. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  4. Welcome to slices of life! We're glad you joined us and you will be glad to be a part of this community! Thanks for your thoughtful post -- I love your description of how you wanted to be like your teacher, and what a powerful moment it was when she asked you to read aloud to her class. I can imagine perfectly how proud you must have been! Thanks for sharing about how you strive to make your students feel special like that now!

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  5. What a lovely tribute to an inspiring teacher. You lines about how you noticed what she wore and wanted to dress like her made me laugh. Welcome to the TWT community! :)

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  6. Diana, thanks so much for the welcome. Glad to be here.

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  7. Thanks for the comments - glad to be part of this community. It was so powerful when she asked me to read. Thanks for reading!

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  8. Thanks for the comment. I also got a grade book from my mom (who was a teacher) and would record their grades in it. So much fun!

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  9. I adore Sharon Creech! Love that Dog was such a wonderful book, and then Hate that Cat came along and I loved it just as much. Thanks for the comment!

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  10. Thanks Sharon! Glad you enjoyed it.

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  11. Welcome to the slicing community, & thank you for the wonderful tribute to your teacher. As you are already thinking about the way you want to be as a teacher, like Miss Stretchberry or Miss Tuck, I suspect you're well on your way! I love those books too, & think that Sharon Creech must have had a teacher like that in her past, too.

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  12. Thanks so much for the comment. I hope I am 1/2 as good of a teacher as Miss Stretchberry or Miss Tuck. Both were amazing.

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  13. Loved you post. I recently shared the book The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco with my writing study group. Her teacher inspired each of her students by noticing their potential. My third grade teacher did that for me. Your focus on how she made you feel special resonated throughout your piece.

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  14. What an awesome memory! To remember how she made you feel, how she encouraged you, how she inspired you in so many ways! I think we've all had a Miss Stretchberry or Miss Tuck along the way; however, our students deserve a Miss Stretchberry every year! Think of the growth and learning!!

    Thanks for sharing and welcome to the Slice of Life community!

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  15. My "half" of Day by Day is dedicated to my first grade teacher, Miss Snook. Yea for Ms. Tuck! Like you, we're lucky to have those kinds of teachers in our lives.

    Welcome to the SOLSC!

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  16. I had a teacher like this. His name is Robert Greenman. He taught journalism when I was a junior and senior in high school. A couple of years ago we reconnected and met up in NYC after not having been in touch for close to 25 years. It was a wonderful day. It brought back many memories and helped create new ones. Even though Mr. G and I have both gotten older, he is still the same wonderful teacher I loved back in 1977. Your story reminds me that every day we have another chance to make a positive difference in a child's life. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  17. What a wonderful memory. I know that I strive to be a teacher who is remembered like you remember Miss Tuck. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  18. So glad to have another new slicer! I hope you continue (aren't comments addicting?). Sounds like you have fantastic teaching role models and I bet you are living up to their example.

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  19. Thanks Mary Helen! I adore Patricia Polacco, what a wonderful author. So glad you had an inspiring teacher in your life as well.
    Katherine

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  20. Michelle - I agree with you completely. What would our classrooms be like if students had a "Miss Stretchberry" every year? How wonderful could that be?
    Thanks!
    Katherine

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  21. Stacey,
    How cool that you dedicated your 1/2 of the book to your first grade teacher. I love the impact teachers can have in our lives. Thanks for the welcome!
    Katherine

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  22. Elisa,
    How cool that you got the chance to meet up with your teacher! Mine moved from Central IL to Virginia when I was in third grade. I wish I could meet up with her again, just to tell her how much of an impact she made on me.
    Thanks,
    Katherine

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  23. Thanks so much! I strive to be a teacher like her each day.
    Katherine

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  24. Hi Ruth! Yes, comments are totally addicting. I hope I am living up to the example of Miss Tuck and other teaching role models, like my mom, each day. :)
    Katherine

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