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School Daze 2019

School Daze 2019

In many areas, students are getting ready to go back to school. Here in Palm Beach County, school starts up again on August 12. In my own childhood, up north, school never started till after Labor Day.

Many teachers will give their students the dreaded assignment, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” I read a thoughtful essay on Facebook recently about all the kids who, for one reason or another, poverty being the most likely suspect, had miserable summers and have nothing good to write about.

I wish teachers would not assign that topic, although I do applaud their getting the kiids to write. Writing is a skill best encouraged starting at a young age.

I remember in 4th grade Mrs. Oschwald gave me a low grade in writing. She said it was because my penmanship was poor. My mother was upset and went to school to complain. She said penmanship had nothing to do with the ability to creatively write well. But Mrs. Oschwald stood her ground. I believe my mother even took her fight to the principal—to no avail. She was more upset than I was.

My 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Hewlett, was a terror. I didn’t like her at all, but I will give her this: She encouraged her students to write and to explore the different types of creative writing. For Thanksgiving and again for Christmas she assigned a piece of creative writing on the subject of the respective holiday. It could be a poem, play, essay, fictional story….

I chose each time to write a poem. So did one of the less bright boys, who shall here remain nameless in case anyone he now knows is reading this. I still remember both his poems.

For Thanksgiving he wrote:

Turkey, turkey, turkey, turkey, turkey in the pot.

Turkey, turkey, turkey, turkey, turkey getting hot.

And for Christmas he wrote:

Santa Claus’ face all shining with gleam.

Oops, he popped his seam.

Mrs. Hewlett asked, in front of the whole class, “Gleem? Gleem toothpaste?” Gleem being a brand of the day; I don’t know if it’s sold anymore.

Although it was the year I was under Mrs. Hewlett’s tutelage that I did a 180 and went from loving school to hating school, I do appreciate the many creative writing assignments she gave out. I wish more teachers would do that.

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