Thursday, May 05, 2005

School Day Thursday Three

From Terry we get the following assignment:

School days, school days…
O those golden rule days!
Or, rather golden ruler days, when she’d come by and whack you on the back of the head with that great big yellow yardstick from the hardware store and tell you to pay attention.

BE THAT AS IT MAY, the topic for this week’s blog-filler game was brought about during a conversation with a certain East Carolinian as we reminisced about the teachers we had as children who had an impact on us (and not of the paddling kind). SO, without further ado, we bring you The Axis of Weevil “Excellence in Primary and Secondary Pedagogy Edition” of the Thursday Three!
As has always been the case, anyone may play along by answering these questions:

1. What three teachers did you have in grade school or high school who had the greatest impact on you, either for good or bad?
The three teachers I can think of were Madam Meck in 5th grade, Mr. Hutchins and Ms. Bognolo in High school.

Madam Meck was a small firebrand of a woman who ruled with an iron fist. She had a collection of rulers in her desk that she would slam down on the desk (frequently breaking the rulers) of any student not toeing the line. Technically she was never my teacher. We had moved half way through the school year and I was only in the 6th grade for the last half of the year. I quickly learned to fear and respect her. She determined that I knew no French and had me sit at a table in the back of the classroom while she taught my classmates. It was there I learned to appreciate Tintin and Asterix. There were piles of them on the table in both French and English. After a few weeks she grew disgusted and marched me to the Principles office (a singularly ineffectual man) and dressed him down on how it was a complete waste of my time to be languishing in the back of her classroom. Since I was a quiet, bookish sort of student I was dumped in the reading room. It was heaven.

Mr. Hutchins was my high school biology teacher. He was fantastic. He expected a lot out of us and was a very good teacher. He made biology fun.

Ms. Bognolo was my Latin teacher. I started taking Latin my freshman year. After a month I went to her in tears. I was completely overwhelmed by all my classes. She listened to me and helped me sort it all out by dropping her class. She felt I should stick the French out one more year. That was the year I became completely disenchanted with French. The teacher was a fool and I lost it the day when I learned that there were 12 regular verbs and all the rest were irregular; this deeply offended me. Why couldn’t these be the irregular verbs and the rest regular? And the words were to die, to fall, and so one. Not a happy group. The next year I dropped French and took up Latin for the rest of my high school career.

2. Which teacher do you wish you could go back and apologize to for your terrible misbehavior?
I don’t remember his name, but he taught English in my high school. My friends discovered that in the afternoon from the art room you could flash a mirror across the windows of the first floor classrooms. Every time this teacher would look out the window after the flash. I never did this, but my friends would then flash him in the eyes. It worked every time. We tried Mr. Hutchins once. He immediately marched to the art room and busted us.

3. What do you think is the best thing to happen to grade school since when you were there?
The dragon of a secretary at Madame Meck’s school is finally gone. She ran the joint, not the Principal. If you missed the bus and needed to call she would make you go to the grocery store across the street. To get there you would have to cross two moderately busy roads. We all learned to wait until she was gone. The Principal was much more accommodating. You could call Europe for all he cared. I remember my Mom telling me a few years back how the parents were so enamored of the Principal and saying how wonderful he was. She knew the real score and thought they were all nuts.

Grade 5, May 1976
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

This is me in 5th grade. I'm in red in the front row. My best friend, Cindy, is on my right in pink.

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