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Classroom reflections

December 22, 2008|By CLAUD KITCHENS

I was a first-year principal and she was a teacher with more than 40 years of experience. In fact, she was a Master Teacher.

Our school had no intercom system, so when teachers needed to be contacted quickly, we sent a sixth-grade student to take a note to each classroom. One day, after getting a request from our central office, I started a student runner with a message asking each teacher to perform a particular task before leaving school that day, Miss Lowenstein was the third teacher to see the note. She took it from the student and brought it back to my office.

She tapped on my office door, which was open and asked if she could come in. I said certainly. She walked up to my desk, put the note down in front of me and said, "Why don't you say 'please?'"

I've never forgotten this lesson she taught me.

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Our school had staggered dismissal times and on rainy days, many of the students walked down a long corridor to leave the building.

One afternoon, a hand-activated fire alarm went off, no doubt with some help. Every class but one lined up for a fire drill.

The teacher of that one went into the hall and yelled, "This school is going to the dogs."

Unfortunately for her, Miss Lowenstein was right across the hall.

The little feisty veteran shook her finger at the miscreant and said, "Don't ever say anything bad about this school in front of these children."

What a great teacher and lady.

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 The Herald-Mail will continue running this column as long as we have previously unpublished material available.

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