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Kissed by The Sun: How a Teacher with Freckles Built Self Esteem

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:

Getting The Strap: 1950s School Punishment in New Zealand

Memoir Story: I Hated My Name

Sibling Rivalry: The Red Dress

The Girl Who Wanted to Look Like Cinderella

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User Comments
  1. jemialbert

    On February 13, 2011 at 5:59 am

    great writing

  2. Uma Shankari

    On February 13, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Such a lovely, heart-warming story. Thanks for writing this.

  3. Christine Ramsay

    On February 13, 2011 at 7:19 am

    That is such a beautiful story, Val. My mother used to say that the freckle on the end of my brother’s nose was where the sun had kissed him. It is wonderful when a child is inspired by a caring teacher.


  4. Patrick Regoniel

    On February 13, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Good teachers care for their students. Nice article.

  5. Literary Princess

    On February 13, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Very good story!

  6. Guy Hogan

    On February 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I think Mrs. Foster was very aware of how you felt about your freckles. A good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold. And a good teacher can have an impact that reaches on for years.

  7. Jimmy Shilaho

    On February 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Beautiful, this should be part of your memoirs, right?

  8. T. Naser

    On February 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    No freckles in my family but I\’ve always been partial to freckles and red hair. :0)

  9. PR Mace

    On February 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    What a wonderful story. How blessed you were to have had that teacher and then to carry on with your students as she did. What an honor you have given to her.

  10. Ruby Hawk

    On February 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    What a kind and gracious teacher. We need more just like her. And freckles really are beautiful in my opinion.

  11. papaleng

    On February 14, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Beautiful and a very inspiring story.

  12. Betty Carew

    On February 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    What a difference freckles makes on lives. I am so happy your experience was so different than mine Val. It is also wonderful that this teacher gave you so much inspiration. I do believe my mom was right freckles are a sign of beauty and what does on show on the outside is more than made up for on the inside. I was also called cute but could never see that. I guess I was so wrapped up in getting rid of the freckles I couldn’t see past my nose lol. A very enjoyable read Val and thank you for the mention.

  13. yes me

    On February 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Liked this page lots Val ah they were the days hmm cheers

  14. Brewed Coffee

    On February 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I suppose I will never get freckles because I am brown-skinned. I think the sun not only kissed me but it embraced me as well. :-) LOL! While a lot of women here want to have fair skin, I love my own color. It’s who I naturally am.

    Teachers do have a way of influencing our lives. They are after all like our parents in school. Teachers like Mrs. Foster and you also are the kind of teachers that any kid would really love. :-)

  15. TrevorS

    On March 5, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Val, this is how the tapestry of life is woven! There are small moments that define the future. This is a great article, and a beautiful story, and I hope Jimmy is correct in saying that it is part of your memoirs.

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