Many people remember a favorite grade school teacher, one they liked the most and often paid attention to. I would venture that if you’ll think back, and decide which teacher was your favorite, you would find it was one who also influenced your life more than others. I was trying to remember the names of all my grade school teachers. I remembered most of them. Taking this a bit further, I tried to remember what the classrooms looked like, and recall certain events, memorable 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 stands out in my memory..
During art class, Miss. Lippens gave us an assignment. We were 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.
The other kids went multi-colored. Some of their works looked as if 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 that 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 likely would have become a commercial artist. However, 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.
Originally published as “Shades of Third Grade” 12/07/16