When I was an elementary school student, I soon concluded that my teachers were anything but human. They were teachers and not humans. Imagine how shocked I was to bump into a teacher in the grocery store. Teachers don’t go to the grocery store! Last week it I received solid confirmation that teachers are NOT human…
Friday evening, I had a once in a lifetime experience. I attended the funeral visitation for our beloved elementary school principal, George Ginther. (And by the way, I didn’t know that principals had first names when I was a kid.) At the visitation, I soon encountered two of my all-time ever favorite teachers. Mrs. Kreutz taught me in the 2nd grade and Mr. Waltenberger in the 4th grade. It’s hard to describe what a privilege it was to be in the presence of both of them.
They introduced me to other teachers that were also a part of the faculty at Wind Point Elementary School. I had Richard Cycenas in the 6th grade. He too was an outstanding teacher. He is deceased now, but I had a delightful visit with his wife.
After the visitation was over, they invited us to join them for dinner at a local restaurant. As former students, we sat mesmerized. They shared the adventures of being teachers in the late 60’s and earl ‘70’s. The women recalled being called out by the principal for wearing mini-skirts to school. And, they noted the “pant-suit” rebellion of the ‘’70’s. We laughed so hard.
I mentioned that I regretted not having the attractive young 5th grade teacher who was a French model before becoming a teacher. Her colleagues at our Friday dinner were quick to point out that she was from Minneapolis and not France! After all of these years, my bubble was burst!
The lively group of retired educators that we joined for dinner also noted that they were in their early to mid-twenties during the time period we had them as teachers! I nearly fell out of my chair. They were the age of my youngest son, who is now teaching English overseas to elementary age children…
The most important thing about the evening is that I was able to say thank you. I was in Mrs. Kreutz’s classroom 50 years ago, and Mr. Waltenberger’s 48 years ago. The thank you arrived like most of my school papers did…late.
Saturday morning, I delivered the eulogy at Mr. Ginther’s funeral. It was one of those rare privileges I have had during the course of my 32-year career. He led those young teachers during a special time in their tenure as educators. I wonder if he knew that one of his 5th grade teachers really was not a French model? I hope he didn’t know…I hate the thought of him being as disappointed as I was! They were not models and they are actually not human either. In my mind today, they are superheroes. And I could not possibly be more thankful for each of them.