Saturday, August 25, 2012

Molding the Future

Molding:  the process of manufacturing by shaping pliable raw material using a rigid frame or model called a pattern.

Time for the new school year. Very little changed each August when we returned to the hallowed halls on the yellow buses. The school always looked the same. Most of the same teachers were there. In fact, some had been there for decades.

My parents attended this school when it was new. Mr. Lawrence was one of their teachers. Little did they know back then that one day their daughter would live in the old master's house. He educated those children who lived in his neighborhood and who went to his church. It was the same for most of the other teachers who lived in the area. They were relatives and friends.

There was a history at Franklin School. One that began in a one room school house. Another time when occasionally a teacher lived in the home of a local resident. The teachers were often not much older than their students.

I received an email from a new friend of "Neff Road". She and her mother were wondering if her aunt had been my teacher in the first grade. In fact, I think if I had, perhaps I would not have been sent to stand in the corner. No, I did not have her beloved aunt as my first teacher.

"I got a note from Miss Ditmer's niece," I wrote to my sister who was in school seven years ahead of me.

"I had Miss Ditmer!" she replied. We continued on with the conversation of what teachers we both had in the old brick school. Only two had taught the both of us. The other was Miss Rhoades. I began thinking about the lives of these teachers who touched our lives. As kids we gave little thought of their families and life beyond us. As an adult I wish I had a chance to meet them all over again.

I learned from my new friend, Sue, that Miss Ditmer married after she retired from Franklin School in 1958. She went on to teach at Shady Glen, Greenville, Cincinnati, and Mariemont. She had hundreds of children yet, none were her own. Her life as a teacher touched her beloved nieces and nephew leading most of them to the front of a classroom. Miss Rhoades, too, married after leaving Franklin School. Her children, too, were those nieces and nephews and those hundreds of children who learned in her classrooms.

My friend Jennie Miller began teaching at Verona, but temporarily retired when she was married. It was the rule back in the days. She later went back to Verona when her youngest was in the second grade, later moving on to Monroe Elementary then Franklin. She was not my teacher, yet I have heard from many who attended school in a later time that she had influenced their lives deeply. She was another who stood by the community she loved and those children who still remember. Those teachers who worked where they lived.

The teacher no longer stay in the home of the student, but it those teachers who gave their students so much have touched the lives of our children. The teaching legacy that made a difference in my community happened because our teachers were friends and neighbors. Dedicated to their families. Dedicated to their students.

Thank you, teachers for your time, your knowledge and  as role models molding the future.

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