Monday, September 17, 2012

TEACHER WHO? MONDAY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I came up with today's question because I read the lovely Alex's blog, called The Life And Times of A. Nightber. I encourage you to check out Alex's writing, and please leave comments for her. She deserves more attention. Alex is very interesting and funny and she has a lot to say about teaching, which leads us to our question for today:

Who was the best teacher you ever had? 
I've mentioned this man before -- my mentor, Dr. C at S******* University. He was the icing on the cake of my education. I took every class he taught, except English 101, which I had already had when I entered S.U. Dr. C guided me through American literature, with a special focus on poetry, and he made Shakespeare and Milton understandable. To be able to say I love Milton -- the king of constipated looking faces -- is indeed a tribute to Dr. C.

Dr. C taught his students how to undertake a close textual analysis of a work of literature. This ability to analyze boosted my career as a reporter. I didn't really need journalism classes because I had Dr. C. The method of writing he taught prepared me for anything.

He also chose me as a grader for his English 101 students. I had this job for four semesters. It taught me to pick out errors in students' papers, and thus prepared me to work as an editor.

However, he also taught me the importance of boosting a writer's self-esteem by giving compliments as soon as someone did something right. My job was not merely to criticize. It was my job to bring out the best in students, and I like to think I apply the same cheerleader quality to my current work in editing.

Dr. C's mentoring has been one of the most important parts of my life. The man was almost always very serious in class, but he had a great sense of humor. And he loved it when I gossiped a bit about the head of the department and told him what a lousy teacher she was. He would have me close his office door so we could chat. If I were to see him again after all these years, I know he would be so proud of the career I've enjoyed.
Now, how about you: Who was the best teacher you ever had? I can't wait to read your answers.

I apologize for going AWOL for so long. I'll try to write a post this week that explains what I'm up to.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

33 comments:

  1. Larry O'Meara. Senior English, high school. He encouraged and praised my writing, right there in frot of the football gods (he was a coach) and everyone.

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  2. Sad to say I didn't have even one teacher who stands out in my mind. I wish I could have had someone like your Dr. C!!

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    1. Everyone should have a Dr. C., fishducky.

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  3. Uhmm, favorite teacher? Beside myself you mean?...I think my favorite teacher was my philosophy professor at a JC I attended. He made me understand and love logic, and philosophy in general. I had him for 2 semesters, I would have taken more classes from him, but I had to transfer. Dr. C really sounds like one of those teachers you don't forget.
    Thanks for the blog love, darling, you rock ! :)

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  4. One of my nephews teaches philosophy. And you're welcome. You rock.

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  5. Mrs. Sheila. Form 4 and 5 English teacher. She worked around my free-spiritness.
    Mrs. Lim. Form 4 and 5 history teacher. She made history seem like rock n' roll.
    love em.

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  6. I love this :) And I too think it's important to show people what they're doing right ;)

    My favorite teacher was an English teacher in high school. He really gave me confidence in myself and now we're friends on facebook lol

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    1. I think good English teachers helped a lot of us become writers.

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  7. From day one, I loved school, and I loved most of my teachers. Mr. DeGrafft, my fifth grade teacher, stands out because he was my first male teacher, and he was particularly kind, caring, and supportive. My home life left a little something to be desired, so having a strong decent male in my life meant a lot. There were many many others, but I'll stop at one. Otherwise, I'll be writing a comment here for the next hour.

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  8. My favorite was Mr. Wharton from high school. He taught history class, but the way he taught it was supremely awesome. He made each class a story, not a lesson. Ancient european history was especially fun with him.

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    1. And I bet you still love history, Rick.

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  9. Me and school...not such good friends. I have no teacher who meant anything to me other than aloofness. No one pulled me aside and said here's your problem and here's what we can do about it. They had never heard of ADHD back then. But they sure made a point of tell me how lazy I was. One even told me I would end up in jail. I hated school until I started college - about 15 years after high school. College was more to my liking. I could do it or not, the professors didn't give a shit. No law making me say! But my brother graduated with a college degree so I wasn't going to let him best me. Though I did have problems with all the liberal bullshit they tried to make me swallow. But I won! I did it my way.

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    1. I'm glad you didn't end up in jail, Coffey. It's a shame the teachers didn't show you more understanding and compassion.

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    2. Not looking for sympathy. Just stating facts. Besides, the neglect those teachers bestowed upon me help me to become the lovable mother fucker I am today.

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  10. Dear Janie, thank you for asking this question. It took me down memory lane. However, I'm unable to pick just one teacher. So here's a list and what they taught me:

    Sister Corita in 3rd and 4th grades helped me come to grips with asthma. In grades five through seven, Sister Mary McCauley made learning fun. Sister Marian taught us in 8th grade. She read to us each day. I can still remember the book "Snow Treasure" by Marie McSwigan, which she read to us the winter of 1949-50.

    In high school, Sister Mary Edith made Latin II exciting by using the chalkboard to map out the thrust and parry of Caesar’s wars. Sister Mary Rosaria taught us how to engage in conversations on any topic so we could elicit the thoughts of others.

    In college, Sister Scholastica taught me how to write. Sister Juanita shared her love of history and made kings and commoners come alive. Sister Jeanette honored my dreams. Sister John Marie seemed to have a bubble of happiness within in as she taught. Learning became delight in her classroom.

    All these women valued me as a student and as a human being. It is because I was open to their promptings that I became the teacher. And of course, I had my mother and father who always said to me, “Dolores, you can do anything you set your mind to.” They were my first teachers.

    Peace.

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    1. I love the name Sister Scholastica, Dee. What a perfect name for a good teacher.

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  11. I wrote a memorial/tribute to my amazing 2nd grade teacher last year. You already read it but here's the link:
    http://paddedcellconfessions.blogspot.ie/2011/11/golden-sky-blogfest.html

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    1. I remember your tribute, Maggie. It was excellent.

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  12. My favourite teachers were Mr Grant, who taught English and History, and I believe that is where I get my love of writing from. Every Friday afternoon, he would read to us and I loved his voice!
    My other favourite teacher was Miss Fox...who became Mrs Wolf! {really!} She taught art and I learned many of my favourite and not-so-favourite artists through her. Not just art, but all sorts of crafts. I would often sit as a "poser" for art classes, which is not as exciting as it seems...looking at a book for a couple of hours, or looking out of a window gets pretty boring at times, but I do still have a pastel portrait of me that she did!

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    1. Dr. C read to us a great deal, too, from the books we were studying. I really loved his Captain Ahab when we read Moby-Dick. He told me he practiced during the summer. I'm glad you had a teacher who helped you to become the excellent writer you are.

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  13. The best teacher I ever had was my high school English teacher. Not only did I learn to read, write, and speak English well, I learned to love the language and English literature. Funny thing.... she looked like Marilyn Monroe and we all thought she had an affair with our math teacher. She was an excellent teacher, and one of the few I still remember.

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    1. I remember in high school that we thought two of the science teachers were having an affair because they were the two best looking teachers in school. We were pretty silly, but oh my! A teacher who looked liked Marilyn? Wow!

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  14. There are only two teachers that I can remember one was Mr Kerr who I had in 3rd and 6th class and he was awesome the other was Mr Cox who I had for History in high school and he was a right bastard......

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    1. Our driver's ed teacher actually told the class that the teacher who ran the driving simulator was a bastard. And he was.

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  15. My favorite teacher was Mrs. Curry. She taught advanced art in high school. She was not only a great artist herself but instilled all her students with a love of art, helping each of us to find our way.

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  16. I've had a few, but I'll say my favorite was my writing teacher, Guy Allen.

    He told me I could write and he encouraged me to write.

    He made other people believe in me--in my writing.

    Most of all, he made me believe in myself so I could take my writing further than the classroom.

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    Janie, when you marked all those papers, don't forget that you were a teacher to all those students. I'm sure your comments were helpful and probably made them better students.

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    1. All the people who read your blog and then your book when it comes out will be grateful to your writing teacher, Peaches. And thank you. I didn't think of myself as a teacher to the 1010 students, but I hope they learned from me.

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  17. I had a few...and every one of them was an English or a Writing teacher. I didn't have anybody memorable until Junior High--well, not in a good way--LOL! ;)

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