One of my very favorite teachers (and I have to say, I've been lucky enough to have had some good ones) was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Suzanne Marshall.
When I look back on that year it seems remarkable that so many lessons could have been crammed into just 9 months. Things like, if you don't finish your math problems you might miss out on the fun afterward; don't help the boy cheat by giving him the answer, even if you do think he's cute; and that writing just for the sake of it can be fun--as a matter of fact, now that I think on it, the first pre-cursor of this blog was probably the journal I kept as part of her class.
Among these many other bits of life-wisdom, I have very clear memories of when Mrs. Marshall encouraged us to find Monarch caterpillars and bring them to school so that we could watch them turn into butterflies. I remember watching the stripey caterpillars get fat in their ten-gallon aquarium in the corner of our classroom, and then building their delicate chrysalises. And I remember the morning someone noticed one was starting to open, and standing, wide-eyed and silent, watching the beautiful, orange butterfly slowly hatch and dry off.
So you can imagine my smile this morning when I saw this article in my hometown newspaper. Mrs. Marshall is still teaching her classes about butterflies. And twenty years later, ever the first grader at heart, I'm still watching for them.