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Recently, I was listening to a podcast by the one and only Mike Rowe and he was reminiscing about his favorite teacher Mr. King. He fondly remembered the life lessons this man taught him and the changes he implemented in the trajectory of his life. As I listened to Mike’s kind words I couldn’t help but think back on the teachers that not only influenced me as a student but also made me feel that teaching was a worthy profession in spite of the challenges.

Now, I loved all of my teachers but some stuck with me in very special ways, especially Mrs. Munn. She was the teacher everyone wanted and my class was the envy of the 5th grade because every day was an adventure in her room. She made life and learning fun and taught me some amazing life lessons that have helped shape the last 20 years.

Let me share some of those lessons:

  • Take time to enjoy life.

  • We ate watermelon outside the back of the building on hot days just because we could. It was not like we had never experienced watermelon before but the excitement of stopping a lesson to enjoy the sunshine and delicious fruit made life seem so special.

  • Be grateful for the body God has given you.

  • She would have us run/walk around the campus every day after lunch. I hated getting nasty as much then as now but she gave me an early understanding that this body is precious and should be looked after. (Not to mention that it got us out of the building to run off energy instead of disrupting class…she was brilliant!)

  • Find the magic in life no matter your age!

  • We listened (and sang along) to Christmas music when the holidays hit and once when it “snowed” (i.e. sleeted) she let us stop class for a moment to press our noses to the windows to view this Mississippi rarity which thrilled us to the core even if it melted the moment it touched the ground.

  • You do not have to choose function over form. (A life lesson that has followed through pink tool set, pink safety vest and a pink blender…Basically, I like pink!)

  • We learned about atoms not with paper and pencil but with graham crackers, icing and M & M’s. This was the only time I truly appreciated a science lesson.

  • Your opinion matters but you must present it in a respectful and appropriate manner.

  • She encouraged us to debate the views of the upcoming presidential election between Clinton and Dole, even having a mock election. She made us believe that even as children we had a part to play in the future and that we had the power to affect change.

  • Be LOUD and PROUD!

  • We had class shirts that were hunter green, with a dog in a Speedo flexing his muscles. They read “The Mighty, Mighty Munns” an homage to the chant Mrs. Munn had us sing as we ran after lunch. “Everywhere we go people want to know who we are so we tell them. We are the Munns. The mighty, mighty Munns.” It felt great to belong to something special and to have this camaraderie with my class even if I was sweating!

I love these memories and I have a million more just like them but I think the biggest lesson I took away from my year with Mrs. Munn was how to love. How to love people, how to love life, how to love exercise and how to love learning. She truly gave us the foundations to succeed in middle school, high school, college and beyond and for that I am forever grateful!

You can check out Mike’s podcast at The Way I Heard It. Look for episode 64, “It’s Great to be a King”.

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