“How would you feel and how would you relate it?” This was a common question from an uncommon teacher.
Mrs. Hauser was a petite woman with an enormous presence. She demanded silence in her classroom, because she cared about how the written word impacted our world and her students. We were taught to consume books, to enjoy every word and punctuation as if savoring a fine meal. She dissected fictional and non-fictional works making us understand the meaning and messages in the words — written and unwritten. “Analyze everything!” — was her motto.
Our class analyzed “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “The Hobbit”. Two completely different works with a common thread, human emotion. We would discuss Anne’s feelings from one six month period to another, or from one particular date to the same date a year later. How had she changed? Did she develop into a young woman even in those conditions? How would we think we would react in her spot? Hard questions to answer and the responses were as varied as the students. Through “The Hobbit” we learned about a fantasy world and the rules that applied there. We were taught to look at a situation from all sides, and how a person’s family and traditions can be a major part of their driving force. We discussed so many things resulting in so many views, which was a lesson in itself.
Mrs. Hauser loved teaching and it was evident in her every move. She pushed us all to dive into our emotions when we read, and by doing so, we gained an understanding of the work and ourselves. It’s been said that writers are like Gods, creating worlds for their readers. Understanding and appreciating those worlds was Mrs. Hauser’s gift to us!
The school year ended as good things often do, but this wonderful woman made me promise to never stop writing. The following poem written on January 28, 1976 is just one of countless works from that promise. I was sixteen years old at that time and the instructor awarded me with this comment and grade: “WOW, A, Beautiful”, underlined three times. I don’t remember the exact assignment and it wasn’t my usual writing, but I loved the challenge.
Paradise in the City
Hidden in the big cement and steel city,
There is a place to escape,
A natural paradise of beauty,
It is a school garden,
Captured in spring.
Bright yellow patches of daffodils on tin the green grass.
Young and tender leaves opening on the trees.
Lilac bushes budding,
A light spring shower,
Made the air fresh.
The sky was bright blue,
The sun was shinning.
School had ended for the day, everyone was gone,
Except two young and beautiful girls.
Still very innocent, their minds filled with beauty.
Unaware of the ugliness,
The hardships and pain,
The danger and crime.
Unaware of the city.
They looked natural,
As if in heaven.
Thanks to Mrs. Hauser and all the dedicated teachers going the extra mile to make a lasting impression on the lives of their students.
Author’s Note: Mrs. Hauser loved to teach and that was evident in her honest and loving way she inspired, guided and corrected her students. The photo of writing journals is to inspire us to — Never Stop Writing!