Christopher Boswell
Jul 6 · 6 min read

And the ones that didn’t. What can they both teach us about life?

Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me. — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

As I think back, reflecting on the teachers of my adolescence, only a handful stand out or can be remembered. Of that handful, there are two notable standouts.

Ms. Smiley and Mrs. Everett.

Their names seem so appropriate and funny now.

They both had a unique opportunity to mold me, one was present to this obligation, and the other, not so much.

As I look back, it occurs to me that the world is full of these opposites in people. Today, I try to remain grateful for what they each showed me about life.

Image by Soupstock on Adobe Stock Photo

Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system. — Sidney Hook

Western Plateau Elementary is located in Amarillo Texas. I was a child in the 60’s, and this was an interesting time in the south. Black men were being hanged and burning in yards nearby, the nations people were torn. Maybe this had something to do with her demeanor, Mrs Everett.

Without looking at any records or documents, if I could even find them. I don’t remember if there were different teachers for each subject. It seems like I was in the second grade. Chances are she was a math or history teacher, both of which I struggled with at the time.

The school was at capacity and had added a few buildings off to the side. little one room classrooms we had to walk outside to get to.

Mrs. Everett held dominion over one of them and I found myself there in her classroom.

I remember very little about the details , but she did leave one indelible mark on my soul.

One day, something I did angered her so badly that she made me come to the front of the class. Then she instructed me to stand in the corner facing the wall.

There were two walls, so the instruction immediately left me with a question. The wall in front, where the chalkboard was, or the wall on the right side which was actually just a row of doors covering cabinets or closets.

I decided not to ask and stood there trembling facing the corner of the two.

To my dismay it was not long before she decided something was needed from the furthermost cabinet, closest to me.

Image by the Author Christopher Boswell

We should be firing bad teachers. — Malcolm Gladwell

She opened the door and began fumbling in the closet pushing the door against me. My face ground against the wall as I cried out with a groan. This did not detour her, she pushed harder. Repeatedly, she drove the door against me, my young brain not understanding what was going on.

I tried to visualize her reaching for something, unknowingly pushing the door with her body.

However, that was not what was happening.

I still wonder what I could have done to deserve this treatment. An image of her is still etched in my brain. Short, stubby, catwoman glasses with a permanent frown.

What do you think she was trying to teach me?

I can’t remember how long it went on, or how it ended, just the pain of going thru it.

And then, thank the heavens, there was Ms. Smiley.

Same school, same me, but a very different interaction.

Image by the Author Christopher Boswell on Adobe Stock Photo

Research confirms that great teachers change lives. Students with one highly effective elementary school teacher are more likely to go to college, less likely to become pregnant as teens, and earn tens of thousands more over their lifetimes. — Wendy Kopp

Is it Nature or Nurture? A question often pondered by philosophers.

And today I wonder as well, but may have one clue from Mrs. Smiley.

If you have not already guessed, she was my Art class teacher. This woman loved everything I created, or at least acted as if she did.

All my drawings, my globs of clay that resembled a deformed head, and even my voice.

Her smiling face is etched in my mind and to this day I feel the love she exuded towards me. Is that why I am a creator? Or, is it because I created that she loved and accepted me?

She also acted as the music teacher, I took that class as well.

Somehow, she inspired me to sing in front of the school at an assembly in the gym. I had no training as a singer or a musician, but I did it because she asked.

Cat Stevens had a hit out at the time called Moonshadow.

I liked it, it would be my song to offer the entire school.

So, I practiced, then practiced some more, and the day finally came.

There I stood looking at the students and faculty all seated on chairs arranged on the floor with some people in the bleachers.

I began….

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plow, lose my land
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won’t have to work no more

And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colors all run dry
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more

The first verse went pretty well, I looked over at her, she was smiling. Did I mention her name was Ms. Smiley?

The second verse began…..

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And then, I forgot the words to the rest and began to panic. I looked at her again, she smiled bigger and began nodding her head like she was saying, “Yes, go on Chris”

My little child brain made a quick decision, I repeated the first verse again.

It seemed like forever as I sang the verse over just knowing in my soul everyone knew it.

Ending the song, I rushed off to her side as she immediately said “Good Job Chris, you nailed it” hugging me with one arm. “Nobody knows but us”, she said smiling.

I no longer cared about the audience, she had put me at ease.

Today, I create art as way to reassure my heart while honoring what Ms. Smiley gave me.

Everything good that I know was taught to me by great teachers and I feel like giving back and sharing the technique is the thing to do. — Betty Buckley

Often I still wonder, do I create because of the love and appreciation she gave for my creations?

Or, did she show me that affection because I love to create?

The answer really doesn’t matter, all I know is this. The world makes sense when I am seeking, making, capturing, creating images and art that I can look at later and share.

Often, when I do just that, memories of Ms. Smiley and Mrs. Everett come up and I know who I want to be like.

I hope you found some value in this article, if you did please follow the links below for more of my recent work, maybe another will resonate. Cheers!

Please consider leaving a comment, I treasure your perception and feedback!

© Christopher Boswell 2019. All Rights Reserved.


When Christopher isn’t writing from wherever, he can be found traveling or capturing photographs somewhere in the United States. He may be generating Graphic Design, building a website, processing images or video, flying his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, wrangling dogs, or backpacking and kayaking. He lives in Tacoma, WA. We invite you to learn more about Christopher at Real Window Creative

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Christopher Boswell

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Published Creator | Photographer | Writer | Arranging text & pixs for fun. Writer/Editor @19 Publications. Creativity saved my life ~ www.RealWindowCreative.com

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

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