We had a new home where I loved the garden (my post on memory of a garden) and mom and dad found us a new school. It was just a few blocks away from our home. It was called Moray Primary School.
This was our classroom. Our work on the walls. Our experiments and our collections and in all this “ourness” was a teacher who was ours. He loved this room and us. He put our work up carefully mounted on coloured card and spoke to us individually. I think he also knew how much criticism we could take. The pace of the lessons as well as the change of subject kept our attention and our motivation came from doing. I remember more about what we did in the classroom than who I was sitting next to. I knew everyone because I worked with different friends.
To show how enthusiastic and content I was about learning not even a put down caused me much concern. This is what happened.
I remember spending a whole chunk of my weekend tracing out the map of Europe. Then turning the tracing paper over and carefully colouring it in pencil so that when I turned it over I could trace over these foreign countries in pencil once again. It was a labour of love. I then wrote in all the country names and capital cities. That was not enough I wanted it to have colour. Purple, orange, red, green, brown, yellow, violet, mauve and so the countries got a dark layer of pencil crayon to make them look as exotic as I thought they were. Little did I know that I would see many of these countries and experience their beauty, cultures and people.
Well, I proudly took it to school. We all opened our geography exercise books carefully covered first in brown paper and then plastic. Our teacher walked down the aisle saying little personal things to each student. Then at last there was my beautiful colourful Europe for him to see.
“Now this is what I would call a dog’s breakfast!” he said.
My dogs ate cooked cabbage, goat’s chops and sudza. Green, brown and white.
How horrid could he be!
A moment in time. And then for some reason it stayed where it should be a memory. So much else was good and positive that it didn’t stop me from finding that room and that teacher a pivotal point in my life. I had arrived at that special place where I wanted to learn.
That teacher soon became a teacher trainer. He was meant for that. To have other teachers in the world like him would be a joy for many other children.
Mr Hounsel died in Australia on 24 January 2012. Thank you for being the teacher who asked me to trace Europe. It has been as exotic as I coloured it in.