Thankful Thursday: Honoring Mrs. Skeggs
Every Thursday in March, the Farmingdale Federation of Teachers, to which I belong, is taking time to thank a teacher who made a difference in our lives. I would like to thank the late Mrs. Colleen Skeggs, my preschool teacher.
I stand in the back row, second from the right, one friend away from Mrs. Skeggs. I look thrilled. I've heard that I didn't have the easiest time separating from my mother during this, my first school experience. The stories actually go that I sobbed so much that my mother sobbed too. Eventually, she had a neighbor drop me off at school which seemed to help with my separation anxiety. In this picture, taken in the early 1980's, it is funny to see my classmates as little kids, about my son's age now. I still see many of them on Facebook- accomplished, successful, parents themselves.
I was only four at the time, so my specific memories of Mrs. Skeggs are sketchy. But when I think of her, I think of a warm, loving, caring teacher. I remember her talking about her son, who was just about our age, if memory serves me correctly.
As an adult now, I see how young Mrs. Skeggs was, how beautiful. It makes me sad to know that less than ten years later, Mrs. Skeggs passed away from cancer. I attended her funeral and it was heartbreaking to see the young children she left behind, along with many devastated friends and family members. Many of her former students were there, to honor her life and her legacy.
When I was thinking about which teacher I would honor this week, my thoughts kept returning to Mrs. Skeggs. She was my first teacher, my first experience knowing what a teacher is and does, helping shape and mold my knowledge of teachers. I wish I could tell her that growing up, all I wanted to be was a teacher and I grew up and did just that. I wish I could tell her that I truly value preschool teachers, especially now that I am a parent to a preschooler and his happy days full of learning and joy mean the world to me. When your child is a preschooler, you are just getting used to letting go, to letting other adults have a starring role in your child's life. It is a big leap and having a trustworthy, caring, sensitive and knowledgeable preschool teacher in your child's life is paramount. Mrs. Skeggs was that teacher for me and she set me on a path to loving school, loving learning, and now as a teacher, I strive to help a new generation of students experience that, too.
Mrs. Skeggs, you introduced me to school and walking in a line, using scissors and glue, holding a pencil (I still don't do it right). You created a classroom with songs and laughter and joy and blocks and pretend play. I know I cried and was probably a bit of a pain, but I thank you for being so kind to me. Thank you for showing me the power of a teacher and setting me on my journey to becoming one. Your influence lives on and so does your beautiful memory.