Sixth Grade Memories
Sixth grade was my final year at elementary school. I was in Mr. Rucker’s class, but I also had the other two sixth grade teachers, Mr. Craft and Mr. Thompson.
Mr. Rucker was friendly, but not the sharpest crayon in the box. I remember listening to him go on while I surreptitiously kept track in a notebook of the number of times he said “uh” and “um.”
Mr. Craft was big and imposing. His favorite saying was, “Sit down and shut up.” Several sixth graders decided that “shut up” actually meant “meet me in bed in 5 minutes.” Everyone thought it was just hilarious whenever Mr. Craft would say that. He taught reading, I think, and I remember him playing us an audio recording of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum. It was my first exposure to Poe, and I remember being fascinated by the description. A rat ran over that guy’s head!
Mr. Thompson taught social studies. Remember how the chapters were divided into 2-3 paragraph sections which each had a heading? He would assign each of us one of those which we would present to the class the next day. We got extra credit for bringing a “visual aid” of some type. It’s so odd the things one remembers, but I remember one day rounding up a little blue plastic train from home and a banana, which I held on top of it as my visual aid for talking about some country exporting bananas. Mr. Thompson called me by my last name and was always kidding around. I kidded right back, being downright forward (or “sassy” as we said then), which was quite a departure from my usual reserved personality.
Sixth grade began during the Bicentennial year of 1976 – a very big deal. It was also an election year, and I recall Faith advising everyone not to vote for Carter as he supported “killing little babies.” I guess that was my intro to the topic of abortion. I remember fervently campaigning for Ford at recess – I was conservative even then (although, actually, I don’t know that Ford was all that conservative).
What do you remember about sixth grade?