Mrs. Harvey was a large woman, dark hair and tall, but not over weight, big enough to intimidate us sixth graders physically and intelligent enough to let us know she knew a whole lot more than we did intellectually. When you entered her room there was something in the air that said, “Do your work, pay attention and learn, and you will survive”. It wasn’t a slogan on the wall somewhere; it was a feeling she projected the moment you came under her umbrella of influence. I came within a “U” of not making it to seventh grade but it was the best year of my educational life.
Because of this seating arrangement and the fact that she would “get on to you” when you didn’t perform to your capabilities, Mrs. Harvey would probably not be employed in today’s market. She would actually say in a loud voice, “I know you can do better than this!” After that a report card would go home with the appropriate number of “unsatisfactory” or U’s on it, and if it were I, there would be accounting to be done at home with two people who were convinced I was normal but perhaps distracted and in fact could do better and it was probably either their fault or mine if I didn’t. Today there’s a different philosophy out there that seems to be saying, “Mrs. Harvey, what’s your problem and why is my “disadvantaged” son unable to read?” No, Mrs. Harvey would not have survived because she believed the responsibility for the education of the child fell first on the parent and second on Mrs. Harvey. So she would have said, “Your son can’t read because you didn’t read to him, preferring instead to watch reality television and soaps. We have math, science, English, and geography, among other subjects to teach your sixth grade child which means reading is a ways down on the list. What have you been doing for twelve years?” Or perhaps in a last ditch effort to reach the parent she might have used the soaps and done it this way.
“You need to be more of a Guiding Light for your child so they can see the way in which The World Turns. Remember, they only have One Life to Live and you need to be there in their Search For Tomorrow. Set the proper example by becoming a reader yourself and develop a Love of Life, not just a love of reality television, you can pass on to your child. As The World Turns, The Days of Our Lives run out and so must your time as a parent. Today’s children are Young and Restless and require commitment and guidance from you, the parent, or they will soon find themselves in Another World, a world of constantly being behind The Bold and Beautiful people, who learned how to read, study, and pursue excellence.” Yes, that’s what Mrs. Harvey would have said as she packed her books, pencils, and paper and bid a fond farewell to parents who didn’t deserve her in the first place.