You have to admit it’s a catchy title, but in the last several weeks I have come to realize that she saves a lot of things.
Leslie has been an Elementary School Teacher for thirty three years and next Friday she closes the door to her classroom one last time. Leading up to this last day she has been busy packing up her room sorting through things she can leave to other teachers, giving away stacks of books she has collected through the years to kids at school and packing up boxes that will come home.
Some contain things she can share with our Grandkids and others are special memories left by so many children who captured her heart through the years.
Turns out good teachers save things that are special; we now have a couple of dozen boxes and several huge three ring binders filled with pictures, from the start of her career to this year, each starts with standard classroom picture, Miss Mannix with her first graders at Mt. Morris Central to Mrs. Plucknette and her 3rd graders at Fairbanks Road School in Churchville. These are followed by several classroom photos she took each year of kids reading for the first time, kids on the playground, performances of Charlotte’s Web and The Wizard of Oz and dozens of her and some child side by side or hugging; you can see and feel the love and joy in these smiles and now I know why she saves them.
“These twin boys both went in the Military after school, my class this year has been writing them and sending care packages and these are the pictures and letters they sent back. I’m sure you remember them because they made chocolate-chip cookies each year at Christmas.”
“You know this girl, I taught her in first grade, when she was six years old she told me she wanted to be a teacher just like me, and 14 years later she was my student teacher and shortly after that I helped to interview and hire her.”
“This boy made me cry when he did his part in Charlotte’s Web, he struggled so hard to learn how to read but being in that play opened his heart and made him enjoy reading, his father was so proud of him I will never forget it.”
I know there are some pages we should skip over, sadly some have passed on, and some she still wonders about, knowing how gentle their hearts were and hoping they had the strength and determination to succeed. While thirty three years of teaching adds up to a lot of young faces, I find it incredible that to this day she knows what most of these children are up to.
Believe it or not, some teachers and students reconnect years later on Facebook turns out the connection that Mrs. Plucknette has with her students lasts a lifetime.
If your heart can take listening to these stories there are several that go with each class picture but I have to say what impressed me most was her smile in that first class picture is the same as the one in the last class picture and I couldn’t help but wonder how many people in this world are lucky enough to do what they love for so long.
Turns out good things do happen to good people.
So while that special door will close one last time next Friday, the memories of how she touched the hearts of hundreds of children will come home. This Saturday we will celebrate the end of one fantastic career with family, friends and of course we look forward to seeing a bunch of those children who touched her heart.
On Sunday, I will try and figure out where to put all these boxes….turns out great teachers hoard boxes of memories!
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