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Karla's Kolumn: Mothers, teachers, role models

Sunday is Mother's Day and this week is National Teacher Appreciation Week so needless to say I've been thinking a lot about both and thinking how many mothers (and yes, fathers) have become teachers with schools closed due to COVID-19.

My mother was my teacher before I started kindergarten. Back in the day in Hamilton Dome we did not have daycares and preschools. I got to watch my older brother and sister start school and wait my turn as my mother started teaching me to read.

I remember not wanting to go to school on that first day because I thought my mother would be lonely. She said the dog would keep her company. I guess raising three children she was ready for a day of just her and the dog.

She was my teacher in the summers as she worked with my sister on math and she worked with me on my penmanship. I'm sad to say on the latter she failed miserably. In fact, in the days when editors would sign their editorials she told me "Do you have to sign that so everyone sees how bad your penmanship is." Sigh. She'd be happy to know times have changed. (Papers stopped with the written signature due to the potential for forgeries.)

My mother taught me a lot about life as well. We had serious discussions and fun discussions about all matters of life.

She did teach me to embroider but I found like most things I did not have the patience, nor the love for it that she had.

As much as she did teach me, one thing she did not teach me was how to drive, rather she left that up to my father, however, when it came to driving a standard, I had to turn to another woman in my life – my sister.

My father and I were just butting heads and learning to drive a standard was no fun for either of us.

In one afternoon, my sister, who was more laid back than my father, taught me to drive a standard.

In addition to my mother, and my sister, there have been many strong women who have been my teachers and my role models throughout my life.

A Facebook meme recently asked if you could remember your first-grade teacher. I could. Mrs. Bent. My second-grade teacher was Mrs. Jurovich. My third-grade teacher was Mrs. Gwynn.

Sure I had some great male teachers as well throughout the years, especially in high school, teachers like Mr. Eckhardt and Mr. Hessenthaler who made learning math fun, and Mr. Hardesty who didn't mind if we were late for chemistry class as long as we brought enough donuts for everyone. Mr. Allen and Mr. West who challenged me in history and civics and government.

In middle school there was Mrs. King, Mrs. Berry and Mr. Munger and Mr. Warren.

I remember their names because they had an impact on my life.

My journey, and the person I am today, I believe is in some small way a reflection of their impact on my life, big or small, they helped mold me into who I am today.

On Friday I had the pleasure of following Worland third-grade teacher Julie Newell as she visited students to bring them their last packet of information and goodies for the year. I snapped photos at her first stop, and I could see it was hard for Mrs. Newell and for her student not to go and hug each other – needing to maintain proper social distancing in this COVID-19 era. I left knowing that Mrs. Newell is having an impact on her students' lives, as I am sure many other teachers in Washakie County are making.

So this week, thank your mother for being your mother, your teacher, your friend and your role model. Thank a teacher for being your teacher, your friend and your role model.

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