sad to say, some of the names have been forgotten. but i remember every act, and how it affected my life.
i had a young kindergarten teacher with long brown hair who taped my mouth shut till recess once. (in retrospect, she had probably warned me over and over and over again to be quiet, and i just wasn't paying attention.) at the time, i was embarrassed, appalled, and angered. but i tried in the future to not yammer on quite so much. this is the same teacher who hugged me for what seemed like hours after my first attempt on the monkey bars which ended with me covered in mulch and crying (or, at least, once i had gotten my breath back.)
my first grade teacher had a sort of page-boy bob haircut in blue eyes, and told my mom that i was showing incredibly advanced talent in art and drawing, and that she should keep pens, pencils, and a never-ending supply of paper handy. my mom still proudly tells this story when she shows the plate that was made from the drawing i did of the pink panther and the inspector. i still draw and paint.
i had a second grade teacher, probably middle-aged with curly hair, who all but checked books out of the library for me. i still love to read. she also let us write and enact elaborate plays (mostly stolen from star wars) to our hearts content and which usually involved the majority of the class, and to which only she, and possibly one or two other teachers on break, would be audience.
my male third grade music teacher pretended not to notice that singing peter, paul, and mary's "leaving on a jet plane" would cause me to cry and cry.
mr. jensen let me draw in class. he even gave me sheets of the expensive carbon paper, and if i drew something suitable and he liked it, he would mimeograph them and hand them out to the whole class to color during quiet times.
mr. weller (who looked a little like chuck norris) indirectly taught me that it is ok for grown men to cry, cause he had trouble getting through the last chapters of where the red fern grows. he would later be my cross country and track coach, and would inspire me with his personal interest in my life outside of sports and the classroom. i have actually tried to find him and contact him, as he once said when i was a junior in high school that if i ever wrote a book, he wanted a signed copy.
mr. steffens would read the short stories i wrote at home or outside of class. he would offer constructive criticism. he still teaches and is the high school librarian at my old high school. he read several chapters of The Unfinished Work when it was still just more of an idea than an actual book. he was perhaps the first teacher who really made me feel like my stories and writing would be interesting to someone besides myself.
mr. mccree most recently helped me to realize that while i write prolifically, and am not a bad writer, i still have much room for improvement. he has also proofread at least two of the chapters from my someday upcoming book, Pierce County.
but the teacher that i will never forget, and to whom i dedicated a whole chapter of The Unfinished Work, and who i liked the least and for the longest was mr. bruce graham. he seemed to hate us students. me in particular. and i never passed any of his math classes with anything higher than a b- (geometry, and all the algebra classes i took with him were straight c's.) but on the day when i aced my college algebra class, and was smiling and dancing around and thinking, "fuck yeah! never have to take another math class ever again in my life!" i immediately wanted to run out, and be able to show it to mr. graham, and tell him, "thank you, sir. and i am really sorry i was such a bastard to you for so many years."
without our teachers we are nothing, and we generally, as a society, treat them like shit. thank a teacher today.