I think her name was "Byrd. Perhaps not.
It has been a long time since she was my "primary teacher" at Helen McCune Junior High School in Pendleton, Oregon, and it is remotely possible that I may have forgotten a few things about my personal life between not and then.
But I will never forget Miss Bird.
She was my home room in the Seventh Grade ... the first year I "graduated" from Grade School to Junior High.
Oregon is different from some other states, in that there are three levels:
Elementary School (also called "Grade School", which encompases "Kindergarten" through the Sixth Grage;Perhaps this is better alternative from 1-8 grades, then 9-12 High School. I don't know.
Junior high (7through 9th grade)
Senior High (10th through 12th grade)
But it did insulate us, a bit, from the teasing and other abuse imposed on sub-freshman students in high school. I know it worked for me, for I was very shy through my formative adolescence, and I appreciated the Junior High school teachers seemed to be more aware of the transitive years, and tended to ignore them.
Miss Bird was known as the most strict teacher in my junior high school, and I'm sure others knew it.
For my self, I loved Miss Bird beyond reason.
She seemed to understand that particularly odd formative phrase when children became young adults. There is a period when emotions are only just beginning to be recognized by the students, and she seemed to have an insight into the struggles we were dealing with. Although she was widely known (in Junior High School) as the most strict disciplinarian (often sending unruly students to "See Mister Bowles" .. the 9th grade Algebra Teacher who was the designated "man with a paddle" who would kick your ass .. he had a paddle board which I later recognized as a cricket bat and was perforated with 1/2 inch hols to make it whistle as it came down to strike your pale ass), I actually never knew her to raise her voice or "send you to Mister Bowles".
There was a day when a guy in the desk next to me threw up. He was not my best friend, in fact he was quite an unpopular guy who wore a black leather jacket and always reeked of cigarette smoke.
One day, he was nervous about ... something .. and barfed all over the floor.
Miss Bird dismissed the rest of the class to the hallway, called the janitor to clean up the mess, and it took a half-hour for the clean-up. I talked to him later. He said Miss Bird was nice to him. As it turned out, he had some serious problems at home (hence the black leather jacket reeking of cigarette smoke) and it turned out that he was the gentlest boy I knew in Junior High.
As I got to know him better, I came to know that someone there tended to beat him if he was "reported" from the school. Or did anything that required his "Dad" to be responsible for his behavior.
Miss Bird never reported him for anything ... he got into more than a few fist fights, and the principle reported him to his parents .. but in class, if there was a problem with him Miss Bird would dismiss the class to the school-yard for 10 or 15 minutes if there was a problem with my friend, and nothing ever came of it. Nothing. Ever. But he was always calmest when Miss Bird and he had had their little chat.
She was a fat broad. Always wore dark blue or black dresses. She kept herself clean and prim, and required her students to be clean.
She tought me more about language than I ever knew existed. Verbs and adverbs, nouns and adjectives were easy. Then she started on past participles and present participles, and I got lost in the haze which permeated the room.
She may not have been the best teacher on gerunds and grammer, but she was really really good on boys and girls.
One day I was walking down the hall and I met Connie Firstname (not her name) who was wearing hose and garters under a skirt for the first time, adjusting her hose with her skirt up about her hips.
She had delicious hips, and I'm pretty sure she didn't know I was in the hall. But she got those hose and garters JUST RIGHT before she lowered her skirt. Then she said something like "Oh, I didn't know you were there!"
And Miss Bird .. who appeared from nowhere, said "okay children, go back to your home rooms now".
I remained a sexual virgin until I got to Senior High School (and I may not remember that right, either), but Miss Bird made sure that me and "Connie" (not her name) .. oh, well, Connie got knocked up in High School *sophomore year*, but not by me.
I last saw Connie at our 50th High School Reunion. She was in the middle of divorcing her fifth husband, had a half dozen children, and still was unable to keep her garters straight. But I wasn't her sixth husband ... Thank You, Miss Bird!
THERE ARE PEOPLE in the education system, who can teach you to conjugate verbs and ... stuff.
And there are people who can teach you to be people.
I can understand the difference between a verb and an adverb, an noun and and an adjective.
Still not clear on the whole "participle" thingie, but I just write and let y'all folks work it out.
The thing is .. Miss Bird taught me things that I'm pretty sure were not in her syllabus. And she did it with such gentle ease, I never saw it until years later. Now, THAT is education!
Wish I had met her after I graduated from High School, though. I'm pretty sure I would have had a whole flock of daughters who were rotund, dressed in dark (dresses always .. not skirts and NEVER jeans) and had pouty lips that promised ... well, I never knew the promise.
Miss Bird, I miss you still. And Damn Me if you weren't the sexiest fat broad I EVER met!
And the smartest woman, of any profile.
*Come to think of it .. she was never fat; I was just young and stupid. What she was, was .. full figured.
And it took me a lot of years to learn the difference.
Celebrating Oregon’s Most Remarkable Teachers: Celebrating Oregon’s Most Remarkable TeachersSPONSORED CONTENT| NOV 06, 2017 | BY OREGON LOTTERY TEACHERS ARE OREGON'S SUPERHEROES. THE OREGON TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM, PRESENTED BY THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE OREGON LOTTERY, WAS CREATED OUT OF THIS BELIEF - TO HIGHLIGHT THE TREMENDOUS IMPACT THAT EDUCATORS HAVE ON THEIR STUDENTS, THEIR PEERS AND THEIR COMMUNITY. HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE REASONS WHY WE THINK TEACHERS ARE SUPERHEROES: