Shades of Third Grade

I’m sure many people remember a favorite grade school teacher, one they liked the most and often paid attention to. I would venture that if everyone would think back, and decide which teacher was their favorite, they would find it was one who also influenced their life more than others.

Today I was trying to  remember the names of all my grade school teachers. I remembered most. Taking this a bit further, I tried to remember what the classrooms looked like and recall certain moments. Three teachers stood out but one in particular came out on top – my third grade teacher, Miss Lippens. And, there was one particular classroom moment which stood out.

During art class, Miss. Lippens gave us an assignment to cut out shapes using construction paper, and paste them onto a full sheet making a design.  I cut out an abstract shape using light green paper, then pasted it onto a sheet of dark green paper.

Example of monochromatic

The other kids went multi-colored. Some looked like they had dumped a package of Skittles on the page. Mine was just the two shades of green. Miss. Lippens told me, “What you did is called ‘monochromatic.’ It means using just one color, but different shades of the color.” It was perhaps the first five-syllable word I learned. Too big a word for the third grader? Miss Lippens didn’t think so. And, I remembered it.

In college, ten years later, I began school as an art major. If I hadn’t gotten into radio sort of by accident, I may have become a commercial artist. I used my art skills while in radio, and after retiring from broadcasting, I started my own graphic design business.

I’ll always appreciate Miss. Lippens for her support and encouragement. It was just a tiny monochromatic moment, over half a century ago, but an important moment which I still remember. I can’t help but believe that supportive moments like that with an elementary school teacher can impact one’s life. And, I can still taste the paste.

1 response to Shades of Third Grade

  1. Dave Coopman says:

    I think every one of our teachers influenced us in some way, some more than others. If I were asked which teacher influenced me the most, I couldn’t answer it, as many did.

    As a former teacher, student feedback was important to me. It let me know how well I actually taught… whether it as subject matter or some aspect of life. Unfortunately, teachers don’t always receive that feedback right away, nor did I. But it was very heartening to hear a former student say something like, “You sure were right about that,” or “I did what you suggested and it helped me get this job.”

    By any chance, Bill, were you ever able to let Miss Lippens know how she encouraged you? I’ll bet she would have love it. Oh, and did your paste taste like licorice?


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