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Classroom reflections

December 15, 2008|By CLAUD KITCHENS

Abby Turner was born to teach. Her first-grade classroom was a beehive of activity, students always busy and always on task.

Abby flitted through her classroom like a ballerina, stopping to give help when help was needed, giving every student positive attention.

One day when her class was drawing pictures of things they liked, Abby saw that one child's work was a purple cat.

Abby said, "Margaret, I never saw a purple cat."

Margaret's reply was, "I got one."

"Oh," Abby said, "Would you bring it to school so that I could see it?"

Margaret said that she would.

Days passed without the cat being brought to school.

"Margaret," Abby asked, When are you going to bring your purple cat to school?"

"You know something, Miss Turner, you just can't catch a purple cat," Margaret replied.

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I learned a lot from first-graders. I learned a lot about teaching from Abby Turner. Primarily, I learned that teaching is as much an art form as it is a science.

Claud Kitchens, who passed away recently, was an educator for more than 35 years, retiring in 1990 as the deputy state superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education. Prior to that, he was the superintendent of Washington County Public Schools. The Herald-Mail will continue running this column as long as we have previously unpublished material available.

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