Somehow, none of that seemed to matter in Mrs. Babick’s room. She didn’t notice that sometimes the preps wore track pants, and that was totally poser of them (unless the person was your friend, and you had told them that you thought it’d be okay if they opted out of tapered jeans that day). She didn’t care that the band kids all wanted to sit together in her classroom; in fact, she may have had us fill out that extracurricular interests sheet on day one just to make sure her subsequent seating charts were completely
|Mrs. Margaret (Peggi) Babick|
When other teachers shut their doors with a sigh of relief at the end of the day, Mrs. Babick kept her door open, and stood in the hallway, greeting the mess of students that had survived another day of
She had a way of making all of us feel equal, important, and like what we did mattered. During our word processing unit, Mrs. Babick had us write thank you letters to teachers at the school. The way she made us spell check and grammar check those documents, you’d have thought she were an English teacher. I remember her saying, as she proofread my letter one final time, “You know, this letter’s going to mean a lot to this teacher. I bet she didn’t even think you noticed.” And 17 years later, her words still remind me to speak up in appreciation for others’ good works.
As if decorating her own classroom weren’t enough, Mrs. Babick posted a spirit board in the hallway, and kept it bright with a new theme every season. If you wore school colors on Friday you got to sign your name to the wall.
To this day, I can’t understand how, in the same year that I got braces, while having giant glasses, frizzy hair, and thrift store clothing (before “vintage” was trendy), Mrs. Babick made me feel cool. One month, I even got red and white alternating bands on my braces. I was probably the biggest dork in all of middle school. But that month, I got to sign Mrs. Babick’s spirit board every single week.
I remember running back over to
middle school after my first week at the giant high school down the street to
tell Mrs. Babick that no one cared if we chewed gum anymore, and I thought my
geometry teacher was cute. Somehow, she acted genuinely interested.
|You can't see it. But that's a sunflower clip in my hair.|
We’ve stayed in and out of touch over the years, but I’ve always looked to Mrs. Babick as an example that one person at one point in time can make a long-term difference in the life of a student.