Two Teachers

A few of my students today were wondering why I make them use the AEA search sites instead of allowing them to just google things.  I was telling them that it was so that when they went to college, they would know how to use the scholarly search engines and not be at a loss.  One of them asked me why this was so important to me.  I quickly told her about my English 11 and British Literature teacher and how her goal was that none of her students would go to college unprepared.  I struggled somewhat in her classes, but discovered when I went to college that I was much more prepared for the rigor of college than many of my classmates.  Classes they struggled with, I found fairly easy.  She pushed us beyond our limits and I remember struggling to do well in her class and really wanting a good grade from her.  While she had high expectations, she would also encourage us and tell us not to give up.  Sometimes I would get so confused in her class, but thanks to her encouragement and belief in me, I never gave up and ended up doing well in college. We gave her a nickname, the Hulk, but it wasn’t out of disrespect, but out of respect that we called her this.  Thanks Carla Hultgren.

This then brought to mind my English 10 teacher, Mr. Morrison.  We not so respectfully called him Mr. Moose.  He spoke in a monotone voice and still used the bell curve to grade.  His policy was to give 2 A’s per class, 3 B’s, a bunch of C’s and then 3 D’s and 2 F’s.  It didn’t matter what your percentage was, this was how it would be played out.  I remember him calling me to his desk towards the end of  a grading period to let me know that I would be getting a B.  He told me that in a regular class this would be an A, but he only gave 2 A’s.  I tried so hard to get out of his class, but not only would the office not allow me to switch, he called my parents and ended up talking to my dad, who of course then punished me for causing problems and not be a good student in class.  Mr. Moose was also the person responsible for my only trip to the office and 3 day in school suspension. Thankfully the assistant principal at the time, told me that he wouldn’t give me the suspension, but I had to spend the rest of the class period in the office. All of this for leaving my textbook at home.  His outer office was right next to the side door that staff came in and out of the building for.  I was never so embarrassed as to have people see me sitting in his office.

Two teachers that both left a lasting impression on me.

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5 thoughts on “Two Teachers

  1. Your beautiful descriptions touch me, and show much of how a good teacher can help, or hinder! I have 2 stories too, and way before the internet. I had a very tough English teacher in both junior and senior year. We worked so hard for her, and when I look back at all she had us do I am amazed compared to what I hear from some teachers today. When I went to college, I was prepared too, and helped quite a few in my dorm learn how to prepare a research paper, an essay analysis, etc., thanks to that teacher. In college, one class was a teacher who stood me up in front of the class because I was chewing gum. She said, “This is what you need to do with students who disobey the rules, embarrass them, & you will have no further trouble.” It’s been a long time & I still remember, & I also always remembered never to follow her advice! Thanks for sharing about teachers, the good and the bad.

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  2. It’s amazing how one person can have such an impact. My senior lit teacher inspired me to be a teacher – because she absolutely and completely killed all of my love for reading and I swore I needed to repair the damage she had done.

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  3. Incredible impacts – both positive and negative. It’s interesting how we can remember the awful stories more than the good. I admire you for following in your English 11 teacher’s footsteps – always thinking of your students!

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