Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mr/Ms

Several people know sad tales of my childhood educational experiences. Today I was thinking about a few teachers/professors/instructors who challenged my experience that all teachers were just horrible and awful. I could seriously tell you stories, but that's not the purpose of this today. It is, instead, to again compliment the unsuspecting.

Mr Simmers was in high school. Sophomore year. Yes you kicked me out of your classroom once or twice, got after me for talking over you, and the like. You were the first teacher I can remember who helped me with my writing. Yours was the first class I ever read something I was assigned to read, A Separate Peace (and yes I cried at the end). You were the first teacher I remember actually talking to me about my work and my experience in your class. You took me on my first fishing trip. You let me skip my foods class and watch the OJ verdict in your classroom my senior year. You weren't my friend, and for that I am grateful. You were my teacher, one of the best I ever had. You were available but also never overly accessible so as to take away my own sense of responsibility for myself and my grades. You didn't provide me a handicap, but let me deal with the consequences of my choices. Thank you.

Mr Somebody was a professor I had my sophomore year in college. It's funny I can't remember you or the name of your class. The reason I include you is because it was in your class that I realized I was smart. Like really smart! Not overly smart or anything, but that I was intelligent and capable!! We read some of the Bahavagad Gita and portions of the Koran and other deeply thought provoking writings that I don't recall. I do recall loving it, thinking about it, having something to say about it, and writing it down. I also remember doing well! There was something about the way you approached that class that motivated me. I wanted to read; I wanted to impress you. I wanted to continue when the class was over. Thank you.

Ms Tohn -- an instructor in grad school. You are a little nutty but in the best possible way. I was always impressed by your passion and compassion for the work you did and the people you worked with. I loved your approach and how it liberated people, often breaking away from traditional therapy which can, at times, actually keep people stuck. I didn't always agree with everything you said, nor were you one I wanted to vocalize my disagreements with in class, but I found that we could always discuss and share ideas when I spoke with you. You were always very respectful of all people, accepting of different ideas and approaches (although some would disagree with me). You helped me finish out grad school, jumping through the necessary hoops and considering so many more options about what I could really do with this degree. Thank you!

2 comments:

Benjamin said...

How nice.
I agree with Mr Simmers. I think we all basically had the same experience with him... yours and Dave's MUCH more extreme than mine. I still got kicked out of his class twice. Shocked me. No teacher had done that before. I thought I was comfortable in his class but he wouldn't let you feel too comfortable.
Teachers aside, I remember a world religions class and we read much of the Bahavagad Gita and the Koran and such. It was facinating and I WISH I retained more of it. I barely remember a thing as a matter of fact.
I wish I could re-do my classes in college.

Likely said...

good teachers are hard to come by. I know yours are few and far between but I am grateful that you had some experiences with positive education role models!