A teacher has an important role in building student’s self esteem. Mrs Foster knew exactly how to make a freckle faced child feel important.
Having just read a wonderful article by fellow Triond writer Betty Carew, Freckles: Genetics I Didn’t Need, I have been reminded of my own childhood story about freckles. Now, this may sound strange, but it may be because of my freckles I became a teacher.
I was six years old and I believed I was the plainest girl in the class. My clothes never seemed as pretty as the other girls, my hair was straight and mousy and I had freckles. How I hated those freckles. I stared at them long and hard in the mirror, but unlike Betty it never occurred to me to try and remove them.
At school that year I had a wonderful teacher called Mrs Foster. I adored her and needless to say my learning really blossomed that year. I’m not sure what it was about Mrs Foster, but she brought out the best in me and probably all the others in the class as well.
Mrs Foster seemed incredibly old. Dare I admit that when I met her again forty years later she hadn’t aged a bit. She was a short lady with a kind face and wore her hair tied back in a bun. I thought she was really beautiful.
I’m not sure what her motivation was that particular day. Maybe she’d heard someone teasing me because of my freckles, or maybe the sun had accentuated my freckles so that she noticed them. We’d all just come in from playing in the hot February sunshine (I live in New Zealand and February is our hottest month). Mrs Foster called me to the front of the room, put her arm around me and smiled at the class.
In her clear, warm voice she announced, “Valerie is the prettiest girl in the class.” I was stunned and so were the rest of the class, judging by the stillness in the room. I felt the heated blush dash up my neck and into my face. Mrs Foster repeated her words, “Valerie is the prettiest girl in the class. Just look at her face. Can’t you see. She has been kissed by the sun.”
Mrs Foster was a wise lady. She pointed out her own freckles to all the six year olds in front of her, something we had never noticed about our beautiful teacher before. She then explained that the sun only kissed children who were beautiful inside, thus adding its mark to the outside as well. All the kids crowded round me, wanting to see my freckles up close, telling me how lucky I was.
I swelled with pride. Not only did my adored teacher think I was pretty, but she too had freckles. We had something in common. I vowed there and then I would grow up to be a teacher, just like Mrs Foster.
I did become a teacher and have often passed on Mrs Foster’s wise words to freckle faced children in my care. A good teacher can be such an influence in a child’s life and Mrs Foster certainly knew how to make me feel six feet tall.
If any of you have freckles, or have children with freckles, please pass on Mrs Foster’s words to them. Freckled children are beautiful. They have been kissed by the sun.
Thank you Betty for enabling me to take another trip back to my childhood memories. Unfortunately I no longer carry the sun’s kisses, but I wish I did.
Other memories from my childhood: