Fifth Grade Teacher: More Than Perfect Handwriting

by Michelle
(Tolleson, Arizona, USA )

Mrs. Snively taught 5th grade, and became my favorite teacher. However, at the time I certainly didn't think so highly of her. In fact, me and the other students called her Mrs. Snotly when we would talk about her. But as the years went by I realized all that she had taught me and how much I appreciated her methods.


Mrs. Snively was a hard teacher. I remember the first day of class, the impression she made, when she was introducing herself. I knew I was in for it when she said she was a handwriting snob, she expected our handwriting to be perfect. My handwriting could have rivaled that of any doctors. It was gonna be a long year.

Besides the perfect handwriting, she held us accountable when she knew we weren't performing up to our ability. One assignment I remember, was to write a short story. I was so sure I was going to get an 'A' that perhaps I didn't put as much effort into it as I should have. My ego took a nose dive, however, when I got that paper back. I had never seen so much red ink on a single paper before.

At first I thought, perhaps I wasn't the great writer I thought I was. But looking back, I know she was just holding me accountable. She taught us students we have to do every task to the best of our ability, not half as well as we are able just because its easy for us.

Mrs. Snively's report card comments didn't spare any feelings either. It was quickly apparent she was more interested in high academic achievement instead of one being “a pleasure to have in class”. My parents ended up holding me as accountable as she did, thanks to her comments in the report cards.

Obviously, her whole teaching style was not to criticize or correct. She also brought teaching to life. When it was time to learn fractions Mrs. Snively brought in a dozen pumpkin pies. Actual pies, with whip cream. Nothing is more motivating for learning than pie. I never had a problem understanding fractions after that day and have since used her methods to teach my own children how fractions work.

Mrs. Snively wasn't a feel good teacher whose main goal was to give you self esteem through empty praises. She was going to empower you by showing you your strengths and weaknesses. She knew what each child was capable of and wanted them to see it for themselves.

I think of her often now when I teach my own children. She inspired me to be more than I thought I could be and never settle for less than the best in myself. Of course I still have bad hand writing, I guess some things can't be corrected.

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