A Tribute to my Very Own Hollywood Teacher
Young, beautiful, selfless, and maternal are adjectives that often
describe the typical teacher depicted in Hollywood films. I was lucky
enough to have a first grade teacher who exhibited these adjectives
more closely than any other teacher I have seen on or off the screen.
My first grade teacher was named Miss Paeck; I remember her vividly.
I was seven, and when she walked into the room on the first day of
school, it was as if her entrance was staged with the lighting, dress, and
makeup of a big budget Hollywood film. She was not only the most
beautiful woman I have ever seen, but she would turn out to be was the
kindest. It was Miss Paeck who gave me my love of learning, and it was
Miss Paeck who showed me how to treat people with the kindness and
respect that every individual deserves.
My entire year of first grade could have been a movie. Consider
the “set.” I went to Hermosa View Elementary School, which is located
in a beautiful, small beach town in Southern California. The kids were
healthy, active, and smart, and the teachers were young, beautiful, and
perfectly sun kissed. As you might expect, while Miss Paeck looked the
part, she was also gifted as a teacher. She was known for giving the most
difficult spelling and math tests at Hermosa View Elementary, but her
students did exceedingly well.
Halfway through the school year, a complication arose in the
drama when my mom and Miss Paeck explained to me that she would
no longer be able to be my first grade teacher. I did not entirely
understand it at the time, but Miss Paeck had been diagnosed with
cancer. Her own mother had been diagnosed with cancer when she was
a young woman, too, and had died, so it was important that Miss Paeck
treat the cancer quickly and aggressively.