Back to school.

July 17, 2012 at 6:49 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

There’s a discussion going on over at a friends Facebook page, and I thought I’d expand on it a bit.  Being a lapsed academic, discussion of school always makes me nostalgic.

If you’re part of some family that’s lived in the same area/town…for at least a couple of generations, or sent generations of students to the same college…there’s this guilt or sainthood by association problem.

My biological parents married quite young (nineteen and twenty years old respectively) and they had grown up in a particular suburb. Five years later they bought a home in the same suburb.

After I did some much needed time in gimp school I was mainstreamed when I was ten-about-to-be-eleven.

That meant that when I got to high school there were actually three teachers teaching there who had been teaching when my parents were students at that high school.

Only one actually taught both me and my mother.

I had been warned repeatedly about Mr. Hill by my mother.  That I would be working my *** off.  That his stuff was challenging.

So, the first day of English Composition.   Silver haired, decently dressed (a feat for any of my high school teachers) sharp eyed and confident, and a “keep up,” delivery….

He went down the roll.  Stopped at my name.  Looked at me hard.

“So you are Susan Donaldson’s daughter. (beat) “I’ll be expecting great things from you.”


I was quite intimidated by that, and thus didn’t really hit my stride with him until the following year in an English Literature class.

Mr. Zappa [no lie] had never taught either of my parents, but he had been there when they were.  He still had the 1950’s butch haircut that my father had long ago let grow out.  He was on cruise control with his lectures, but not spitting them out by rote.  They were lively and interesting…he was one of the reasons I meant to become an historian.    He always began with a notation of where we had left off the previous day…a kind of mental neatness, precision.

The teachers above never phoned it in.  They didn’t show up chemically altered.  They appeared scrupulously fair in their discipline.  They knew the importance of getting something valuable into our skulls and making it stick.

Mr. Eich was a physics teacher that I never had.  But there is a family story about how between my mother and my aunt  one got an A from him and one got a B….  It was still being discussed *fifty years* later by some family members.

This is why I get peeved when I hear TV wankers dissing teachers.  I had some of the most amazing teachers around….and they had nowhere near the stresses of today’s zero-tolerance-for-everything, metal detectors in the schools situations.

Teachers have some of the toughest work in the world to do, and aren’t paid relative to it’s difficulty, some might even say hazard.

That’s not to say I haven’t suffered under lackadaisical teaching, or hung over teaching, or just what-the-heck-was-that teaching.   But I have to dig harder to remember those, and the ones that matter to me today are the good ones.  The ones that got through.

Here’s an apple for ’em.















Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: