Friday, August 25, 2006

Memorable teachers

Becky and I visited our older son's middle school for open house last night and met his new teachers. Nice people all. Brandon is in sixth grade now, so this is his first experience with multiple teachers and classes throughout the day. So far, he says he is really enjoying all of his classes.

Brandon especially raves about his History/Social Studies teacher. From Brandon's description, he sounds like one of those very gifted teachers who make the subject come to life, create an eagerness in his students about the material, and generally make learning fun -- all while holding the students to a high standard. After meeting the man last night, it's clear he loves teaching, and I'm so glad Brandon has his class. (Brandon's description of him also made it sound like he was 60 or 70 years old, and after meeting the man, he couldn't be more than a few years older than me! Ah, the perspective of youth.)

I've had a few teachers like that over the years, and they are the most memorable, even after all of my advanced years. There's Mr. Friedrichsen, a junior high science teacher who could always get a laugh just by the way he said, "Manganese!" (And, incidentally, whose name I later borrowed for an elaborate college prank involving a fake roommate. I'll save that for another post.) Ms. Stimach, a math teacher who most kids dreaded because she was all business, yet who taught well because she expected a lot. Mr. Bolton, my high school physics teacher, who looked and acted like a Marine drill sergeant, yet had a underlying humorous streak that inspired me to create a comic of him as superhero "Mr. Physics," culminating in a wall mural of Mr. Physics being painted in his classroom, without permission, when he foolishly took a week off. (Again, another post.) Dr. Billson, my freshman college English prof, who wore odd punk-style sunglasses without any sense of irony and who calmly but firmly insisted that he be called Dr. Billson, not Mr. Billson (his first-day example of a subject-verb-object sentence? "I have a Ph.D.").

These teachers all had idiosyncrasies that made them unique, but what made them all special was that they loved to teach and expected us to learn -- and I would take any of them, as demanding as they could be, over the few touchy-feely "everyone gets an A" types I also experienced from time to time. I hope and pray my boys find more of these wonderful teachers as well. They have my utmost admiration.

Please feel free to post about memorable teachers you may have had!

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