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Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 12:32 PM


Where I live, this is the first day of school for most public schools and many colleges. I know we have several teachers on Sploofus, and I just wanted to say: On your mark, get set, and go out there and mold young minds! (or maybe you "mould" them if you're in Great Britain?) Anyway, thanks for the great job you do (and you probably don't get enough credit for it)!

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 2:59 PM

Clarification. I had checked the spelling to make sure that mold would be understood regardless of which version of English everyone speaks, and apparently, it came across as being misunderstood that I was implying something "mouldy" about Great Britain. That was the farthest thing from my mind. (In fact, I had checked the spelling and I saw a definition that said to mold, as in character or mind, would be spelled "mould" in Britain.)

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I salute teachers everywhere, regardless of the country.
(And I have visited Great Britain once, loved it and would love to go back.)

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 3:09 PM

Apology's always the INTENT that counts,
rather than the action. As you are in the States, I took
it that you meant it in the literal Amercican sense...

Thank you for the encouraging words about Britain, and I
apologise sincerely for making the wrong assumption. And
responding with both barrels, so to speak !!!!

I too feel that teachers are undervalued and underpaid.

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 3:12 PM

(NOT a Freudian slip I hope)

1mks  (Level: 220.9 - Posts: 5928)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 3:22 PM

Thank you so much. I am a teacher so that made me smile. Of course, I am no longer in the classroom but I do the in-school-suspension program for my district. There are 5 of us and I have 8 elementary schools that feed to me. Sadly, I already have a customer for tomorrow. Seems like a 2nd grader took a knife to school...much like a Swiss Army knife. That is a BIG no no. So I am up and running! Thanks again. Marsha

Suzannec  (Level: 260.1 - Posts: 616)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 3:24 PM

As a former teacher, I also salute those of you in this difficult, but rewarding, profession. You deserve everything good that comes your way!

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 4:13 PM

Thanks, Rowlanda, for giving me the heads-up so it wouldn't be misinterpreted by anyone else.

Marsha, you have my gratitude that you're dealing with challenging circumstances. (I can't believe you've already got a "customer" on the first day of school.)

Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 4:20 PM

This year, for the first time in twenty-odd years, I won't be in the classroom, but I appreciate the tribute to teachers nontheless. It is an incredibly difficult job, but also one of the most rewarding. I never dreaded going to work, and I was never bored. If it sounds as if I miss, I do!

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 4:33 PM

Here, here! Some of the most influential people in my life have been teachers and I admire them above everyone. I owe at least a dozen of them more than I could repay in a hundred lifetimes.

To Miss Williams, the white-haired North Carolina spinster who devoted her life to teaching generations of children to read, my humbly and eternally grateful self among them. To Miss Beyers, another maiden lady in Baltimore who taught third grade with enthusiasm and kindness, and hammered the multiplication tables into decades of reluctant heads by sheer force of will.

To Mr Harris, a young man I'd now guess to have been in his late twenties, then in his first teaching job. He opened minds, widened horizons, and taught respect for other ways of being, in part by gently and movingly teaching a single fifth grade class about the holiday traditions of the Jewish people with whom we lived, worked, and played in our East Baltimore neighborhood. He brought in his family's lovely old silver menorah, smuggled from Russia during the Revolution, hidden in a barn in Poland during WWII before escaping to America and passing through Ellis Island with Mr Harris's father, eventually making its velvet-cushioned way to Room 12 at PS 2 in late 1959. Mr Harris was transferred shortly thereafter because of complaints from students' parents. I can still see him lighting the candles for us one by one, face aglow as he tells the story of the miracle of the oil. The day Mr Harris left, his last act was to take his class to a Christmas pageant, where he sat quietly and watched the depiction of baby Jesus in his manger, attended by Mary and Joseph, angels and wise men, and stood with his class for the singing of hymns. It gave me a lot to think about at twelve. He was a wonderful teacher, and I hope he touched thousands of lives and minds as he did mine.

To Mr Leipold, for encouraging and guiding my love of reading, for making me stretch by convincing me that if I read a whole book of Dickens I would understand it, and I would love it. He was right about Dickens, and so much more. He taught me the lifelong habit of reading the newspapers every day, as we did in class, and that what was happening in the rest of the world had impact and import everywhere. He was the perfect teacher to have in the duck-and-cover waning days of Eisenhower, and into the dawn of the Kennedy years. We were both very excited to have shaken JFK's hand at a campaign rally in Patterson Park. A scant few years later, I had the opportunity (much as Bill Clinton more famously did) to shake Kennedy's hand as president, at a Rose Garden ceremony honoring public school students from Baltimore in the spring before his death. It was Mr Leipold I thought of on the bus to Washington that day, the person most responsible for getting me there, by lobbying for my acceptance to an academically accelerated class, and continuing his argument by letter even after he was transferred, going all the way to the school board to get me into the class. He was the best.

To bearded, shock-haired Mr Kaufman in 7th grade English, who had my extra-credit science fiction story read aloud, and won me my first taste of applause. Heady stuff, that! And to Miss Falkenstein, the last of my dear spinster ladies, who smilingly endured the endless stupid jokes about her name, and fired my love of history through three years of the Civil War centennial; Ken Burns has nothing on Miss Falkenstein. She also taught me the vital skills of taking notes and making outlines, which made every class I ever took after hers so much easier. To Mr Hejny, who taught me limericks instead of algebra because they'd decided to change the way it was taught, and he was having his own troubles with it in night school. I don't know anything about algebra, but I know all about the people of Nantucket!

To the bullet-headed ex-Marine disciplinarian-with-a-twinkle, Mr Calender, who made me write 5000 words on Iceland, complete with bibliography, hand-drawn maps and illustrations, and gave me an A, and a sense of having acquired a valuable and interesting block of knowledge entirely on my own. It was the first report I ever put in a cover, and I still remember the drawings. It took me a long time to get to Iceland, but when I did, I still had everything I'd learned in Mr Calender's class. And to pretty Miss Cousins, who taught me my smattering of French and almost always managed not to roll her eyes or laugh at my accent. I heard Miss Cousins and Mr Calender had a "thing going on". I hope so, I loved them both; they'd have made a striking couple.

Lastly, both chronologically and in the sense of saving the best, to Mr Robert Barrett Ludwig, who looked for all the world like David Hyde Pierce (Niles from "Frasier") in horn rims, and possessed such an infectious passion for the English language as to utterly enthrall 30 early teeners and make us groan when the hour was over. He could produce whole volumes of poetry in all its rich, rolling, sonorous beauty, in the most elegant speaking voice I've ever heard. He spoke ancient dialects and knew Beowulf and Milton and Shakespeare by heart. The first day I walked into his class, I found the words I still try to live by. Above the blackboard hung the framed motto, "This above all: to thine own self be true." Kinda made me think maybe there was something to this Shakespeare guy. Mr Ludwig gave me Shakespeare. No thanks could be enough.

I've had many wonderful, gifted teachers, most of whom viewed their work as a sacred calling, and did it for about 20% less than a comparably-educated non-teacher. Today, according to NEA statistics, they do it for a shocking 60% less! Is it any wonder that the quality of schools is dropping at a proportionate rate? I've long feared for America's starveling public education system. The real tragedy is that it's being deliberately starved. Vanishing funding causes schools to fail, and failing schools are used as justification for withholding funding. And so it goes. We live in a country that claims to value children above everything, but refuses to pay for quality education. Of all the hypocrisies my government has ever practiced, I see this as the most foolish and dangerous.

To all teachers everywhere, may the coming school year be the most productive and rewarding of your careers.


Bushyfox  (Level: 174.4 - Posts: 2403)
Mon, 27th Aug '07 4:43 PM

I am sure your teachers would be VERY proud of you if they read that, Smoke.

There would be some misty eyes, a straightening of old backs and a bit of a spring in the step knowing that all their hard work had shown such measurable results.

What you have achieved is what EVERY teacher would hope for their students.

Take a bow, one and all.


Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Tue, 28th Aug '07 7:36 AM

What about you, Bev? Tell about your favorite teacher. I thought surely this thread would be a mile long by now with memories of favorite teachers!

Ladyvol  (Level: 212.9 - Posts: 5673)
Tue, 28th Aug '07 8:41 AM

Let's not forget the substitute teachers either...My hat is off to them all...
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Edith Hutchins in fourth grade. She had also taught my mom when she was in school. One of the most loving and intelligent teachers and a wonderful lady...She taught me my multiplication tables, how to act like a lady, and she was so much fun!...
Here's to you Mrs. Edith!...

Tuzilla  (Level: 146.4 - Posts: 3843)
Tue, 28th Aug '07 10:17 AM

I remember 4 great teachers, among a plethora of good, average teachers, and 3 abysmally poor ones.

Mrs. Byrd -- I had her for Creative Writing. English classes were always easy for me, but I never could find the point or focus of why they might be important. She opened a whole new door by freeing my imagination to write what it saw. This played heavily in my career over the years.

Mr. Ginther & Mr Hopkins -- I had a horrible experience, along with much of my peers, with Mrs. Stevens. She taught Geometry, Chemistry and Physics. She was nothing but nasty, vindictive and mean. She was roundly despised by all. After barely squeaking by Chemistry and failing Geometry, I found myself in her Physics class and back in her Geometry class. Nearly every student in her classes hated to be there. Many of them shared horror stories similar to mine. No one was ready for another year of her draconian ways. We took a page from our college brethren and went on strike. Each day we showed up for class, but we would sit and stare blankly, not participating or doing any work. A little over a week later she simply disappeared. I ended up in Geometry with a fresh out of school teacher named Mr. Hopkins and in a Physics class with fresh out of school Mr. Ginther. They both made learning fun and understandable. I passed Physics handily and got A's in Geometry.

Mrs. Eck -- She taught American Government back when it was a full year class. She was almost, but not quite five foot nothing and old enough to have seen the entire history of the United States first hand. Every student feared her and the class. I entered her class the same year the Soviet Union first allowed Western tourist to visit it...1968. She had went there with a group of teacher as some of the very first U.S. citizens. What an adventure it must have been. Each student was required to write a 20 page minimum term paper and read it in front of the class during the second half of the year. I still have mine. It was 43 pages on the United Autoworkers (UAW). My family had a lot of history in the early days, so I had access to a lot of information. She gave me a double A for proudest piece of schoolwork.

Twenty years later at our high school reunion, they asked who was our favorite all-time teacher. From hated and feared, she rose to #1 on over 95 percent of the surveys.

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Tue, 28th Aug '07 11:58 AM

I went to an English all-girls High School - where we were also marked on
Comportment, Deportment, being Decorous and everything you needed to be a Lady....
However, we too had an impossible Physics and Chem. teacher. There were four
doors to the laboratory - and in every session there was at least one girl sent
to stand outside EACH door!!!! We got really fed up with her, and took to doing
the "pail of water above the door" thing, so she got wet a few times. One day
we forgot to put the pail over the door - and when she came in, she put her foot
in the pail and it got stuck there. We roared as she clanked down the hallway....
and we never saw her again!!!!
Belles of St.Trinians!!!! For those who remember those movies!!!!

I was once stopped in the hallway by a teacher that I barely knew, and she said something I've never forgotten. I was about 11 and she told me, very solemnly,
"This world is NOT a fair place....and people do NOT treat each other very well
Rowlanda. The sooner you learn that lesson - the less trouble you will be in,
for the rest of your life...." And I've been trying to prove her wrong ever since!!!!

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Wed, 29th Aug '07 9:52 PM

Pep, what this thread needs is a good recipe!

Miss Mallon taught me to make Welsh Rarebit in 7th grade, but no beer was involved and I can't vouch for authenticity, never having fed it to a Welshman. She also taught me Waldorf salad, Ambrosia, brownies and orange Jell-o in a bundt pan with grated carrots, as well as how to thread a sewing machine and make an apron, a blouse and a dress, how to set a formal luncheon table, iron a man's dress shirt and polish silver. How much more useful it would've been to learn instead to rewire a lamp or a wall switch, change a lock or check my oil, fix a drippy faucet, hang a ceiling fan, refinish furniture or hook up a DVD player. Guess I can't blame her for that last one, though.

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Wed, 29th Aug '07 10:07 PM

I guess it's too late to sign up for her class? Wow, what a teacher!
You had a bunch of great ones.

Salzypat  (Level: 162.6 - Posts: 5426)
Wed, 29th Aug '07 10:32 PM

Rowlanda, did you REALLY do all that? That would have been so funny -- well to the observer, certainly not the teacher.

My worst thing was to put a nest of baby mice in the teacher's desk drawer. Boy could she ever scream!

God has punished me ever since by making me terrified of those little fast-moving rodents. This was in a small one-room school in rural Nebraska and my dad was president of the school board. Every time I did something wrong the teacher whined to him and I got a paddling. Maybe it wasn't God who put the fear of mice in me!!!

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Fri, 31st Aug '07 3:20 AM

Pat....I realized afterwards - my contribution wasn't in the spirit of the thread,
which was to thank and praise teachers. I only remembered it because someone talked
about being afraid of one of their teachers.
Yes....we did do it - and because it was an ENGLISH school,it was treated as a sign
to the "establishment" that this was a teacher who had NO CONTROL of either herself
or her pupils. Unsuitable teachers were removed. Period.
I think it showed great imagination and a certain fearlessness on your part, when you
put the mice in her desk. Any teacher - who reports a child to her father everytime
the child is mischievous - deserves to be punished as you were punished!!!!

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