As I was thinking of my favorite teacher, my mind went directly to Miss Lissow, my 3rd grade teacher. I am so thankful that she was one of those people who could see children and hear their hearts. She did not judge us by our actions. She loved well. I think back, quite embarrassingly, to those days of picking fights with the boys, especially the poor new kid. (If any of you know a John Ammer, please tell him I am so sorry.) I was not kind. I was always challenging the poor kid to races and fights.
Behind the scenes of my actions was a hurting and confused kid. We had moved into a house and for some reason it was not helpful to my parents’ marriage. My mom left a few times, sometimes with my brother and me, other times on her own. Home became an unsettled place. All this emotion and confusion spilled out into school.
Miss Lissow must have figured out something was going on. Instead of sending me to the principal’s office, she invited me to go for a walk, and talk during recess on many different days. I went to a Catholic School connected to a church. I remember sitting on the steps of the altar in the church and talking. I do not remember what we talked about or if it helped the situation any, but I can picture that moment. When I was in college I had to observe some classrooms and I went back to Miss Lissow’s. She was so gracious and kind. She remembered me as the little girl with really short hair. (another story, for another time) Another classmate was also back in town, and had chosen her to observe too. Apparently, I was not the only one impacted by this kind woman.
I am so thankful for Miss Lissow and other teachers I had like her who welcomed me into their classrooms and saw beyond the bad hair and rough and tumble attitude. I am thankful for all the teachers that allowed me to erase their boards, or help out with extra stuff, and made me feel so special. School was a safe place for me, and many teachers I had helped me to love learning, and desire to be a teacher like they were. I am thankful that they had eyes to see beyond the outside, and their huge hearts to love the kid with the messy life.