Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 4: Mrs. Gobel

Mrs. Gobel (I don't know her first name) was my third grade teacher. She was very tall and pretty and had long 70s hair down past her waist.

I went to school in the basement (really the maid's quarters) on the base in Wiesbaden, Germany. It was down the back stairs, into a foyer where we hung our coats and left our lunches. The class had two rooms - a big main room and a smaller room that was probably her office, but I never noticed that.

Mrs. Gobel was one of many teachers in my life who recognized my thirst for knowledge and my desire to please. There was a special needs student in our class (this was pre-PL 94-142 and accomodations) who I worked with on spelling and reading when I was done with my work. I LOVED that - I was helping AND working in a school...I had wanted to be a teacher from the time I was 5 years old. This was perfect.

I remember Mrs. Gobel because she always had us sing in the morning - we sang "America the Beautiful", "My Country Tis of Thee", and other patriotic songs (we were Air Force brats, after all) and other songs like "Marching to Pretoria" which I still remember. She played the flutiphone and the organ and had a little mini organ and other instruments in class. This was truly a self-contained situation where she taught it all - there were no P.E. teachers or Art teachers - the classroom teachers handled it all themselves. There were 2 teachers for all the primary grades in Crestview (where we lived). Kids who were in 4th grade up had to go to Lindsay II, which was an actual school building and a long bus ride away.

Mrs. Gobel somehow took a liking to me and I remember going to church with her and her family. She had daughters who were younger than I was but I remember talking to her. I even remember going to her husband's company picnic. I know that my mother later wondered if maybe she should have been taking me to church, but I loved Mrs. Gobel so much. I think it was one of those cosmic connection things. I asked my mother about it - why would she want to take me with her? (Now, if a teacher did that, they would probably be arrested...). My mom just said she liked me and asked permission.

She read us books every day after recess time - "The Secret Garden", "The Trumpet of the Swan", "Charlotte's Web" and other classic children's tales. She introduced me to scholastic books and I bought "Little House in the Big Woods" and "Little House on the Prarie" as the first books I ever choose for myself.

My memories of Mrs. Gobel are strong, but few...I even have a picture of her someplace. I'm not sure she did anything more extraordinary than helping me love learning and caring about me as a human being. What more can you ask?

Thank you, Mrs. Gobel - wherever you are. You were a great influence in my life and I still want to be a teacher like you someday!

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