Barbara [Rabin] Green, 1st Grade Teacher
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar.
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fireFor we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
–”Invitation” by Shel Silverstein, from Where the Sidewalk Ends (Harper & Row 1974)
The first time I ever heard Shel Silverstein’s “Invitation” I accepted, and have been enraptured by his magical vision ever since. The first time I approached Barbara [Rabin] Green’s first grade class, though, I knew I had found the magical land Shel Silverstein only dreams about…
I will not play at tug o’war.
I’d rather play at bug o’war,
Where everyone bugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.
–”Hug O’War” by Shel Silverstein, from Where the Sidewalk Ends (Harper & Row 1974)
Everyone does win in Barbara [Rabin] Green’s class…where the word of the week is “warm fuzzy,” and my child brings home “hyacinths for the soul.” Barbara is a rare and special human being who sees the wonder in everyone and helps everyone see the wonder around them. The warmth and love that flows from her rushes to meet you at the door and enfolds parents and children alike in a kind of communion with life.
Barbara’s classroom is a magical world where the mind and heart are stretched for miles and miles and no one is ever quite the same again. Children learn to value themselves by being valued…to care for others by being loved. The first words they learn to read are the ones Barbara writes on their morning work—”wonderful,” “fantastic,” “terrific,” and “perfect”…The first word they learn to write is “friend.”
Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TSListen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me—
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
–”Listen to the Mustn’ts” by Shel Silverstein, from Where the Sidewalk Ends (Harper & Row 1974)
Barbara’s children first discover they can do things because Barbara believes in them. Then they realize they can do anything because they believe in themselves.
by Pat Christensen (parent)
From the Rowland Hall – St. Mark’s School Review, June 1989