Favorite Teachers: Mrs. Pelayo

It’s teacher appreciation week in most of the United States, and since I think a great deal about the teachers I have had over the years, I decided to try to write about some of them this week. By no means is this a comprehensive list. But I continue my posts with one of the ones who had made an impact on my life.

The year was 1990. The original version of the cartoon Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles was on every morning while we ate our cereal for breakfast. Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg stared in the hit Ghost. Cheers was still popular and everyone knew Norm. Nolan Ryan had thrown his sixth no-hitter at the age of 43. New Kids of the Block and Tiffany both were popular, especially amongst the elementary school crowd that made up my group of friends.

I was in fourth grade and rode my bike to school. My teacher for half of that year was Mrs. Pelayo at the now defunct El Toro Marine School in Irvine, California. I can still remember what half of the classroom looked like, though parts of it are fuzzy now. My dad was in the final stages of his career with the Marine Corps that fall and there was a recession going on, so my family was in a state of upheaval as we were needing to relocate and soon I would switch school, moving on to Mrs. Jones as a teacher.

But for a few short months, Mrs. Pelayo was a constant in a world that was changing. She was a friendly face and a great encourager of my love of reading. And one project she had us in particular still sticks out in my mind.

As part of a unit she was doing on different cultures, Mrs. Pelayo had each of her students do a simple family tree. We only had to go as far back as our great-grandparents, but I can recall my mother struggling to find the answers as to what her mother’s mother’s maiden name was and where everyone was born. We got the answers from calling our various family members, and I finished the project. But that little scrap with names on it stuck in my mind, planted as a seed that wouldn’t bloom until years later. But it was then that my love of genealogy was born.

I don’t struggle to fill out the generations anymore, not at least for several generations back. My family tree is as full of vibrant characters with many stories to tell that I eventually discovered thanks to that project.

I don’t have many more memories of Mrs. Pelayo or my time spent at the El Toro School. Sometimes, I regret that those memories have been left to dust, but that is the way of things. But thanks to one small project she assigned, a spark was lit in my head that blossomed into a hobby and even helped me become a strong writer.

Dear teachers, you do matter in the lives of students. It may not be every student who remembers you fondly, but there will those who look back and think of you with love in their hearts and a smile on their face. They may even remember your words of wisdom. or at the very least, the projects you assigned that touched their hearts and their minds.

Stay magical. Write your own story.

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And as always, #writeyourownstory

3 thoughts on “Favorite Teachers: Mrs. Pelayo

  1. I wonder if the best teachers even realize the lifelong impact they have on some of their students? How wonderful that one chance assignment turned you into the family historian 💞 💞 💞


    1. I put this blog post on the alumni page for the school I went to and turns out Mrs. Pelayo is a member of that group, so she got to read this and the other memories that alumni posted. So yay!

      Liked by 1 person

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