Who was his 3rd grade teacher?

on February 12, 2010 in School dayz with 13 comments by

I had to swing by the bank yesterday. I haven’t used this particular branch before, so I missed the turn.

[please try to contain your shock]

And so I had to circle around a Taco Bell [no, I didn’t purchase anything though I would SWEAR I heard the cinnamon twists calling my name, but I can’t be sure]. As I did, I saw an African American dude walk out of the restaurant. He looked dirty, he looked homeless, and he looked tired.

I watched as he crossed in front of me. He opened a plastic cup of sliced oranges and poured it into his mouth. Then as he walked by, he looked right at me. He stared at my eyes and I couldn’t help but begin to wonder about his life. How did he get here? Where was his mama? Where will he sleep? When will he eat again?

And who was his 3rd grade teacher?

A weird question, I know. But I looked at him and I saw his little self. I looked in his face and saw what he looked like when he sat in a desk, turned in his spelling test, and ran around on the playground.

It brought me to tears. Because I taught over 150 students in five years. And I remember all of their names [I’m kinda a freak like that]. And I bet they remember mine, cause kids always remember their teachers.

My 3rd grade teacher was Mrs. Albers. She knows how I turned out- I had lunch with her about 2 years ago. But I wonder if somewhere, that young man’s teacher sits at home tonight and is curious about him. I wonder if she pulls out that class picture and looks at each face, remembers handwritten notes and Christmas gifts, and daydreams about who her students became as adults.

Because kids don’t forget their teachers. And teachers don’t forget their kids.

I prayed for that guy there in the Taco Bell parking lot. I also prayed for my students. I prayed that they would use their minds [in which I poured knowledge, and a few jokes] to keep getting an education. That at every turn they would look to make the wise choice. That somehow they would remember my name and in some weird mindmap connection, that would remind them that they can be anything they want to be.

I hope my kids are okay. I wonder about them.

Your teachers probably wonder about you too, you know.

Who was your favorite teacher?

[And if you can, maybe now is a good time to contact that teacher and say thanks. Send a picture. Teachers love sentimental junk like that.]

Have a great weekend.


  1. posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 4:26 AM  |  reply

    My favorite teacher was Mrs. Johnson in 2nd grade. I just loved her to death and I can still remember her M & M machine that if we got 100% on our spelling tests we got M&M’s hehehe. As a former teacher, I can also say that I loving hearing from past students. 🙂

  2. posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 7:19 AM  |  reply

    I just ran into my first grade teacher two days ago at the dentist office. We were her first class. Her jaw dropped when I told her I was going to be a grandmother.

    Oh, Annie, my mama and daddy returned from their trip to the Philippines yesterday. Mama had a newspaper picture and caption from a Filipino paper. It was a little boy who couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 sleeping on the sidewalk in Manila with his little arms wrapped around the scrawniest dog you’ve ever seen. They were both sleeping, looking so peaceful. Your post made me think of that picture and makes me cry.

  3. posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:38 AM  |  reply

    What a great post — I think about that with all our kiddos downtown all the time . . . and I had so many teachers I loved — probably my 5th grade Mr. Jones would have to be my absolute favorite!

  4. posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:01 AM  |  reply

    I often wonder the same type of things when I am near a homeless person. What is their story? If this their choice, or an unhappy lot?

    As for teachers, I was homeschooled from 2nd grade on, so my mom was IT. But when I was in school, Mrs. Pulliam was ah-may-zing. I tried to find her earlier this year and don’t know if she’s still alive, which makes me sad. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I think I would love to spend a week in Miss Downs’ class. Just sayin.

  5. posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:25 AM  |  reply

    Great post Annie. I think of my teachers often. So many of them still influence me today. Ill always remember Mrs. Curren in 1st grade – she wore a frosted wig, bracelets that clinked when she wrote on the board and she always smelled like flowers. She was kind and smiled and knew how to encourage a 1st graders heart to try hard and never give up. I loved her.

  6. mandy falgout
    posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:25 PM  |  reply

    i love this post. i am also a teacher and often wonder about where my kids are now. my first class of 3rd graders are now in high school. nuts! the kids are the reason i get out of bed each morning and i love loving on them for Him. sharing and being a part of their journey is a true gift.

    p.s. great to meet you the other night too.

  7. posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:46 PM  |  reply

    Great post. My favorite teacher was my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Schoon. I’ve had other teachers who made an impact on me, but she was my favorite. She was always encouraging and supportive and had a way of making us all feel loved. It was like she was our Grandma. But then there was that whole learning thing that went along with it. 🙂 I discovered a love for reading in her class.

  8. posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 1:48 PM  |  reply

    My favorite teacher was Mrs. Sheeley in the 3rd grade. She was amazing. When my dad had a stroke that year she took me out in the hall to pray with me. I’ve visited her several times in the last ten years since I graduated. She was the sweetest lady ever. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. posted on Feb 12, 2010 at 4:08 PM  |  reply

    Dangit, Annie! Now I’m crying!

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in my world who isn’t in education. My best friends, my church friends, my mom, my cousin – the list is LONG. So while I’m not a teacher, I kind of feel like I know enough about that life that I can understand what you’re saying here. Especially because my mom teaches at-risk kids in the hood. And sometimes she sees them on the news. And that’s not okay.

    Stupid tears.

    And to make it worse? I’m pretty sure my mom told me that my 3rd grade teacher died a couple years ago. Wahhhhh!

  10. posted on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:50 PM  |  reply

    Annie, I remember my 3rd grade teacher–Vesta Carter. LOVED her.

    I was also a teacher, and I wonder often what happened to students I no longer see. I still pray for them 13 years later.

  11. posted on Feb 16, 2010 at 6:35 PM  |  reply

    I always think these things when I see homeless people… It breaks my heart. One day they were sweet little babies held in caring arms. How did they get where they are? Some by choice, some not. I just wish I could help them all.

  12. Heather Fuller
    posted on Feb 17, 2010 at 1:55 PM  |  reply

    My favorite elementary school teacher was Mrs. Davis. She took time to help me with my math issues and plus she lived near me so sometimes I would stop by & say hi.

  13. posted on Feb 20, 2010 at 4:18 PM  |  reply

    I hope my kids are always blessed to have teachers with hearts like yours.

    My oldest is in third grade. I love his teacher.

    I guess my favorite teachers were Ms. Stevens and Mr. Cole. They’ve both passed away. I told them they were important to me. I hope they knew I meant it.

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