Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mrs. Corley

When I was in the first grade I broke my leg. On the merry-go-round on the playground at school. It made me a little famous. I got to go and tell kids in the other classes how I broke my leg, and how they could avoid the same experience. 

My first grade teacher was Mrs. Snyder. She had big bouffant hair and big glasses, and always wore a big pin, usually shaped like some kind of insect. And she threatened to flush us down the toilet if we didn't behave. I was a little afraid of Mrs. Snyder.

One day, while my leg was still healing, she left me sitting in the door of the classroom, alone, while the rest of the kids went to PE or recess. Now this was the '60's so that's not as terrible as it sounds, but I did get a little scared and lonely.

Just around the corner was the second grade classroom, where Mrs. Corley taught. I'd been to her class to share about the merry-go-round. Mrs. Corley came down the hallway and saw me crying and invited me back to her room until my class got back. What could be better than that? The celebrity 1st grader was going to spend the hour with the 2nd graders!

The next year I got put in Mrs. Corley's class. I was so excited, because I already knew her and liked her. Lots of my friends were in the class as well. Early in the year we had a fire drill. We were to walk outside in a straight line and stand in the 2nd grade spot without talking. I was never very good at not talking. And my best friend was in line with me. And it was a Friday. And I was going to spend the night at her house. So we may have talked. Just a little.

Mrs. Corley caught us. I saw my life pass before my eyes (it happened really quickly), and I knew that Mrs. Corley would never be nice to me again.

But that's not what happened. She told me she knew I was excited because I was going home with Trina, but it was very important to be quiet so I would hear important instructions if there were a real fire. She wrote my name on the board, but promised to erase it if I was good for the rest of the day. So I was very good. And she erased my name. And I got to go home with Trina. And Mrs. Corley was still nice to me.

Years later when my son was in elementary school at a different school, he came home telling me about a helper teacher in his class. I asked her name and he said Mrs. Corley. I practically ran to the school. Yes, it was my Mrs. Corley, and now my son was loving her just as I had. And better still she remembered me, and was loving my son the way she'd always loved me.

So thanks, Mrs. Corley, from 2 generations of talkative kids who really appreciate nice teachers.
Mrs. Corley last summer with some of her grandkids

linking up with the writer's workshop


  1. Nice story, Melanie. Something I think we can all relate to. Good teacher, bad teachers, teacher with bouffant hair! But your son coming home with news of Mrs. Corley, that was a pleasant surprise.

  2. That is so cool that your son got to have Mrs. Corley, too!

  3. Mrs. Corley sounds like an awesome teacher! How exciting that she also got to teach your son :)


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