Thursday, June 08, 2006

favorite teacher

The prompt is to write about your favorite teacher or the one who influenced you most. I had a lot of nuns teaching me when I was in school. Plus a number of lay teachers. None of them really influenced me in a positive way, though there were some negative ones....There was Mrs Szymanski in 5th grade who said I was at fault for letting the boys pick on me, but then punished me if I stood up for myself. There was Mr Stein in the 7th grade who seemed to really dislike me for some reason & I can only assume it was because I was the only girl in class not in love with him. He was a bully & went out of his way to point out my faults when we played sports, mocked me when I got answers wrong in class & in one memorable incident made me sit in a row all by myself, not in the front seat mind you, but in the second seat back, for almost a month. (there were 21 kids in my class & 25 desks). My parents took his side when this stuff began & yes in the beginning my behavior was not stellar, but his became worse when he realized he could get away with it. Years later a classmate & I were reminiscing about it & my mom overheard & said "Why didn't you tell me all this? That is terrible." I told her I did tell & she took his side so I never bothered telling again. She looked so shocked I didn't tell her what happened with another teacher a few years later. There was also Sr Ethelrida, one of my HS math teachers who constantly gave me grief for not trying hard enough, even though I was. As a freshman in college I would be diagnosed with a form of dyslexia & on winter break I stopped by my old HS to show the report to Sr Ethelrida - I *had* been trying very hard. She apologized & said it never occured to her because I did so well on standardized tests....um, ok.

There was one teacher I really like in HS, Mr Volpe, who taught Advanced English for seniors. He didn't think I was goofing off when I questioned things in the books we read & wanted him to explain just how he knew that those flowers in the story were symbolic of a mother's grief & not just simply flowers. He had us write a lot of essays that were based on personal opinion, and he actually graded us on the grammer & style, not whether he agreed with you or not. Once he told the entire class "There was only one A+ this time. I disagreed entirely with her thesis but it was so well argued I had not choice but to give her the top score" and he handed me my essay on "Why TV watching is good for you". :)

My favorite teacher of all was in college. Dr Arnette, who taught Egyptian history and several low level ancient history classes. I got lucky getting into his History 101 class my first semester freshman year. I love history & he loves history & he made it all so interesting & fun. So real. Some of the other 101 teachers were bland or boring or just out of their normal area of expertise, so their classes were not as enjoyable. I took every single class Dr Arnette taught over the years of getting my BS and my MA. I was even one of his proctor students for a semester as a grad student. My favorite lecture of all of his was a slideshow known to everyone as "toilets of the ancient world". It was slides of various ancient historic sites he had visited all over Europe & Egypt and at every site he included shots of the ancient 'facilities' which made the past seem more real. It's all very well to memorize a list of date of pharohs, but learning about how food was prepared, how a bed was made & what sort of bathrooms the people used really makes it all come alive in the imagination.

6 comments:

ArtcMom said...

This was a super post Stacey! I'm sorry about you bad experiences with teachers. Your title of your paper made me laugh- I did one similar to that in college- mine was about Saturday morning cartoons and how Pee Wee Herman was educational! HA!
Again, great post!

heather said...

Great post Stacey! Well done on that A+ ! Love that history lesson on toilet facilities - I agree, history is so much more interesting when it's about people's lives at the time..things we can relate to.

loonyhiker said...

It's such a shame that negative teachers can have such a terrible impact on children! It makes me furious just to think about it! I wish I could hear about "toilets of the ancient world"! Maybe I need to do more research on that topic!!! lol

glynis said...

It really is awful that you had such terrible experiences, but it is also really wonderful that there were teachers that had a positive influence--even if it was a lecture about toilets! LOL

Laura Lou said...

I absolutely LOVE the "Toilets" approach to history. Dr. Arnette sounds like a wonderful teacher. Sorry you had such a bad time in the early years.

CompooperTeacher said...

Do you still have the essay on TV watching? It would be interesting to read!