Parents as Teachers

I saw Joanne in the grocery store last night.  I had not seen her for a while, at least not since she retired last year.  She recognized me, but couldn’t recall my name; she wanted to call me Dan.  We first met Joanne some 25 years ago, when she came to visit our home as a representative of Parents as Teachers.  Parents as Teachers is a Missouri originated educational program that concentrates on early childhood education, from birth to kindergarten.

When Joanne first visited us, Dan was less than a year old.  After all of these years I can’t remember any details about her curriculum.  All I remember is coming home from work, she and Anne were sitting on the couch together, talking and Dan was at their feet playing with the new toys that Joanne had brought to share.  We saw more of her a couple of years later, when David came along.  Come to think of it, it was more likely this period of time that I am remembering.  Over the years, we would meet Joanne at various school functions; she was both faculty and a parent.  When Anne began substituting she would regularly work with her and sometimes substitute for Joanne too.

Last night, I took the opportunity to update Joanne on the boys, I’m sure though that Anne has kept her abreast: Dan is in graduate school at CalArts; Dave graduated last spring and is now an intern at NIH.  After these chest puffing recollections, it was everything that I could do, just to restrain myself from launching into a Tarzan yell in the checkout lanes and then start beating my chest.  As we parted, I told her that the kids had turned out alright.  What I didn’t say then, but want to add now is thanks, thank you for your help.  Hopefully, she saw it in my eyes. 

As sort of a postscript, Anne related to me another story that ties our boys to Joanne, or at least to her family.  When Dan was in second grade his class played audience to Joanne’s son, Tom and his fifth grade class.  The fifth graders were tasked to read their papers to the second graders.  Tom’s treatise was on the koosh ball.  I’m not sure how it transpired; maybe Dan asked an insightful question, most likely it was just part of the program, but Dan came home that night with Tom’s paper plus his koosh ball.  He was so excited.  Who says that you have to be a parent to be a teacher.

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