Dear Ms Daniels
It’s been a while since our paths crossed for a fleeting season. I was the timid, 6-year old first-grader with a mop of honey curls and a protective scowl on the face, trying to make sense of a confusing world. You were the gentle, sweetly-fragranced young teacher with a cheerful smile. You patiently taught me to sound out the ABC’s and string letters into words until those words transformed into magical stories.
I remembered you the other day when someone asked: “What was your dream job when you were a kid?”https://www.sacap.edu.za/blog/testimonial/glynis-klein/
At that moment, from almost out of nowhere, a dusty forgotten dream gently floated in. The memory dated back decades ago, before too many seasons of life, grief and loss cast dark shadows on the purest parts of my childhood.
“I wanted to be a teacher!” I replied.
In a floodgate of memories, I recalled how my best friend and I spent blissful hours after school in her back yard teaching our ‘learners’ the same way you did, with compassion and kindness. Except, our blackboard was the wall of her red brick house, and neatly stacked rocks were our first-graders.
My memory is fuzzy about the details, but Maya Angelou once said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Ms Daniels, you entered my life a year after my family joined the scores of families forcefully moved to a displaced community due to racial segregation in South Africa. In a world where I felt afraid and invisible, you made me feel seen.
Today, reading and writing fill the better part of my days, and it all began in a grade 1 classroom, decades ago, with you, Ms Daniels.