Sepia Saturday 449: Eighth in a series about my fourth grade teacher Miss Helen George — one of those friends, acquaintances and neighbors (FANs) who can make such a difference in a person’s life.
Although I long considered my fourth grade year an individual experience, my education was actually a group effort — with my teacher Miss Helen George working in tandem with my mother to move my learning process forward.
The best evidence of this is the teacher-parent comment section of my fourth grade report card.
A mutual admiration society
In the little spaces provided, Miss George outlined my progress in the beautiful flowing cursive she strived to teach us in class — her signature underlined with a flourish.
In reply, my mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau — herself an elementary music teacher — thanked Miss George and acknowledged her contribution in glowing terms.
I get a kick out of these little notes every time I read them. They reveal Miss George and my mom as a mutual admiration society — one teacher corresponding with another, collaborating and taking pride in a child’s progress.
My deportment problem
My first quarter of fourth grade went pretty well, judging by the report card notes:
“Molly is doing a fine job in fourth grade and I hope that she continues to do as well.” ~~Helen George
“We are pleased with Molly’s report and feel she has shown improvement this year. We appreciate your fine work with her.” Margaret L. Charboneau
The second quarter was another story. I started the year with only a “satisfactory” (as opposed to “excellent”) in deportment. And apparently my rambunctiousness went downhill as the year went on.
So did my neatness — a point pride to my meticulous teacher. So Miss George sounded the alarm, and my mom stepped up to help.
“Again Molly has done an excellent job! If she always does as well I’m sure she will know a happy, successful future. (–I do wish she would try to make her papers a little neater.)” ~~Helen George
“We will encourage Molly to continue the good work. Also we will stress the neatness and deportment department.” Margaret L. Charboneau
I clean up my act
My parents’ intervention apparently did the trick. I actually got an “excellent” in deportment in the third quarter — and Miss George reported that my papers were neater, too. In appreciation, Mom returned a message of high praise to Miss George.
“Papers neat — excellent work — so there can be nothing but praise for Molly this period.” Helen George
“An excellent teacher can bring out the best in a youngster. Thank you.” Margaret L. Charboneau
Headed for fifth grade
I was back to “satisfactory” in deportment in the fourth quarter — but fortunately didn’t behave badly enough to hinder my educational progress. On June 24, 1960, Miss George proudly promoted me to the fifth grade.
“Molly has had a fine year in fourth grade and I hope that she will continue to do as well in fifth grade.” ~~Helen George
There are no closing comments from Mom. But when I asked her about Miss George decades later, she smiled affectionately at the memory.
“She was just great,” Mom said. “The classical type of person you think of when you hear the word teacher.”
Please stop back as this series continues. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.
© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.