Mrs. Green and the Influence of Teachers

The text came in from my sister, Eva Hobbs: “Did you have Mrs. Green as a teacher in elementary school? She died in Harlingen on Thanksgiving.” Mrs. Green, one of my favorite teachers ever! She was married to the high school football coach, and I was in her sixth-grade class in 1962. It’s funny how unaware I was about ages back then; reading her obituary, I realized she was only 28 years old that year she taught me. I had no idea she was a young teacher. I remember her class as the perfect balance of discipline and creativity. She had the wonderful gift of making learning fun. After lunch she would read a chapter from a book out loud to the class, even though we were sixth graders. I loved that.

That year, she and Coach Green adopted a baby midway through the school year, so our class only had the privilege of having her for the first semester. She made the great decision to stay home with her son, but I remember wishing she had been my teacher the whole year.

That was my last year living in La Feria, Texas, which is located in the Rio Grande Valley. The next year we moved to Pennsylvania, where my dad took a pastorate at a church. But I still remember many of my elementary teachers from La Feria. Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Steger, Mrs. Fleuriet, and Mrs. Green were all teachers who had a great impact on my life.

I’m at an age now when many of my teachers have passed away. A couple of them I’ve had the opportunity to go back and say thank you. But most teachers who helped mold me into who I am today will never hear those words from me.

Reading Mrs. Green’s obituary made me think we could have been friends as adults. We would have had a lot to discuss. She loved to travel the world and did so. I wonder, what countries and experiences did she especially love? I love to travel and I bet she could have taught me a thing or two about peoples and cultures. She loved spending time at the beach on Padre Island. I wonder, what books did she read while listening to the sound of breaking waves?

Teachers are some of the greatest influencers in our lives, and I’m grateful. I’m grateful for those who not only influenced me but also my daughters and now my grandchildren. THANK YOU to all who have made teaching your life’s work. On those days when you feel burned out, stressed out, wrung out—you still have one of the most influential jobs in the world, and you are desperately needed. Thank you!