For this Discover Me Challenge, I had to really think long and hard about the one teacher who left me the most inspired. At first, I thought it would be pretty simple. I had some great teachers but one stood out almost right away. Then I really started to mull it over and I realized that I had a couple teachers that more than stood out – they gave me something lasting. All in all, I wasn’t quite sure where this journey would lead me.
I ended up going back to the teacher that I originally selected. It was 6th grade and Mrs. M taught Science.
What you really need to understand is that Science really didn’t awe me like it did for other kids. I was much more interested in Reading. Honestly, Science kinda bored me. It seemed too rigid. But, Mrs. M… she anything but rigid. She really was special.
I remember Mrs. M would talk to us kids as if we were her own. Some classmates called her “mom” in jest just because she was that kinda person (I may be guilty of that). She was so incredibly kind and full of affection.
In Mrs. M’s class, we had field trips to the recycle yard, which was a huge deal in the 1980’s. Not everyone recycled back then. Some of my favorite “trips” were when we just went outside to inspect the fallen leaves and try to identify the trees that they came from.
Perhaps the biggest and most influential moment that I had in my sixth grade year, or of my entire early education, came from a very unexpected class lesson.
I remember walking in to Mrs. M’s class and finding my seat. I noticed that at the front of the room was a record player. Immediately, I tried to guess what the lesson would be. We all did. The whole class was buzzing. Why would we need a record player in Science class?
Mrs. M waited for us to all pile in and take our seats. She then went on to explain that we would be listening to music today in class. We would hear all types of music. Some would be happy fast songs while some would be slower and a bit more moody.
Then Mrs. M passed out blank pages and some drawing or coloring instruments (honestly, I can’t remember which).
Our lesson was simple. As each song played, we were to allow ourselves to draw with the music. Whatever we created, we created. We could have our eyes opened or closed. The music was meant to inspire the hand and our minds would were to let go.
I had never heard of anything so fascinating. My love for music was already very deep, as I grew up in a home where music was a key part of communication. To introduce a visual component to the music, more importantly, a component that was a mirror of my mind – well, that was new territory. This was an all new experience.
I suppose to some, this may sound a bit silly but I believe it was that moment that my love for art truly took form. I started to see a deeper meaning in what people created. I began to question the artist’s intention and mood. What music did he or she listen to as they drew, painted, sculpted, photographed, created? Everything around me had to have a soundtrack.
27 years later and I am still inspired by Mrs. M and that unexpected lesson from a sixth grade Science class.