Today is #ThankATeacher Day. So I just want to thank Elaine Oldham my 6th grade teacher at Wildwood School in Piedmont, CA in 1960-61  for inspiring me to make education my passion and my vocation.

I happened to connect with her on Facebook a few years back and we shared a few thoughts about our class that year. In keeping with the standards of the time (yes, there were standards back then too … at least implicitly), she drilled us hard on neat penmanship, good spelling, perfect times tables, and fluent reading out loud.  I was a master of  most of them but decidedly weak on reading comprehension, math problem solving, and creative writing. To be sure, I was in need of some 21st century skill development. It took a while but I got some deeper learning a bit later… thankfully.

I also recall one particular revolutionary moment in Miss Oldham’s class:  watching on a new black and white TV the launch of the first US person in space, Alan Shepard, in May of 1961.  Having a TV in the classroom was almost as revolutionary as the flight itself!

So, again, Miss Oldham, thanks for a great start and for being a terrific role model to this day.

jim six grade  Sixth grader, Jim Kohlmoos, 1960-61