I just got back from the history class we have at our CCRC. I just LOVE it. Way back in my former life, history was such a bore. It was my least favorite subject in school. Now that I am older and I feel closer to past events, history has become more interesting. However, the main thing is that this teacher is fabulous. He could teach anything, and I would go and listen. Not all teachers in my memory are so well revered
Teachers are a variety of humans, like the rest of us, and therefore prone to problems, anxieties, illnesses, distractions, and lack of support. One teacher I had in 7th grade was an alcoholic. Her supply was in the cloakroom along with our wet boots and bagged lunches. As long as we were quiet while she slept at her desk, she gave us no grief.
This topic has provided opportunity for some interesting conversations with my kids and grandkids. When asked for their input about teachers, one daughter, in her section on ‘the good ones’ wrote, “Mr. X was always upbeat, energetic, and taught me, “Energy is the ability to do work. Work is the movement of an object in the direction of a force. A force is a push or a pull.” …Which has helped me all the way through physics. He was always immaculately groomed, wearing a suit.” This is a memory of a science teacher from almost 40 years ago. I remember him also from parent/teacher conferences. He cared about science, but cared even more about his students.
Son-in-law remembers his 5th grade teacher because he encouraged creativity, taught him to play chess, and even provided out-of-class time so he could practice an inventive way of whistling with his friend.
From the perspective of a teenager: He had one 8th grade teacher he really liked because of the freedom in class and encouragement for creativity. Same grandchild also did not like a 7th grade “mean and strict” teacher who was assigned as chaperone for his 8th grade trip to New York. “At first he was worried about it, but then once they got to New York, she let them wander around on their own.” This was a group of 13-14-year-olds on their own for a week in the city. His mother, my daughter, said, “Good thing I didn’t know about it at the time…. In the end though, it gave him the chance to feel independence and responsibility and helped him become the rather mature 15 year old he is today – it was a crash course in taking care of yourself. So, I guess she did him a favor”.
Who knows what the future brings? The influence of a teacher may be immediate or much later. We can learn what to do or what not to do. Maybe someone won a lot of money on Jeopardy because of a suddenly remembered fact from a previously unappreciated teacher.
Oh, there is so much to talk about!