Not all Teachers deserve to be called a Teacher
Just got me thinking
The discussion of Teachers in the news has got me thinking about my own schooling. I came from a time when if you got in trouble at school it was up to the Teacher to dish out the punishment. He/She could either send a note home to your parents (God forbid!) or take matters into their own hands and give you the whack you probably deserved. After thinking it over a bit, I am not sure that all teachers deserve to have that title of ‘Teacher’.
As I think back on my schooling some of the names may escape me, but of course there are those who will always remain somewhere, mulling around within my gray matter.
Kindergarten thru 5th grade
Kindergarten - Honestly I don’t remember the names, since I moved during that year (my Mom and Dad got married and we bought a new house) but what I do remember was making a drawing of a sailboat and showing off for a boy. I could make noise with my pencil hitting the paper, I hit it too hard and the pencil went through the paper. Yep, I got in trouble and my Mom got told. I never did that again.
1st grade - Not a clue, there is nothing that I can recall about this teacher or class. Apparently nothing traumatic happened.
2nd grade - We moved again and into a new school I went. Mrs. Poole was her name. There are 3 things that stand out with her. Her daughter was allergic to chocolate so when we brought candy for our own birthdays (to celebrate) we had to bring her daughter a full size Payday, everyone else got mini candies.
The second thing, she wouldn’t recognize my hand was up and that I needed to use the bathroom, so I ended up puking on my desk. Afterwards I got yelled at for doing so, she said I should have known better.
Mom and Dad had gotten some new checks so they gave me the old ones to play with, I ended up writing checks for gazillion’s of dollars to my friends. Apparently when you write illegibly and in pencil it is taken seriously. She called my Mom and I got in trouble for that as well.
3rd grade - Mrs. Vander Ark - She was something else. She was pretty and had long blond hair, with an extreme zest for life! We got to take breaks and do some exercises during class. That was the year I learned cursive (writing rather than printing). She made learning loads of fun! I only got in trouble once in that class for biting another student. Hey, he was choking me!!
4th grade - Mrs. Wickerham - She was my Mrs. Edleson (Men in Black). She had red hair, always in an up-do. She taught me math, and was darned good at it! I only got smacked on the behind one time in her class. That was for laying across my desk. (I probably shouldn’t have done that)
5th grade - Mr. Telnesof - He was my first man teacher and he was fairly young, with a great love for teaching. He encouraged us to do our best. I was close to the #1 spot for spelling in his class, me and Debbie ‘whatshername’ were always fighting for that top spot. It was this year that he was supposed to discuss reproduction with us. He put it off as long as he could, and before I could learn it we moved. By the time I got to my new school they had already discussed it.
last of 5th - 6th - 7th grade at a new school
I was in for something different with my new school, I didn’t have just 1 teacher I had 3. Honestly I don’t remember any of their names, but I do remember getting my first whack. We were told to be quiet, Lori refused to quit whispering to me and I had to loudly tell her to be quiet. I got the whack. Yeah, that REALLY hurt.
For those of you who may be wondering just what a ‘whack’ is let me explain. The teacher must have made friends in woodshop because they got these specially ordered paddles that were about 15 inches long (plus handle) and 8 inches wide with holes drilled throughout. The holes apparently let air through so the teacher could get in a good swing when they made direct connection with the behind of the receiver, who was by the way, standing with legs spread apart with hands against the lockers.
6th - 7th grade - In these grades we had many teachers for different subjects and those changed at the half year mark. Mrs. Keyser (math) I remember her clearly because A.) she gave me my 2nd and final whack. She did not believe in having you stand against the lockers, she felt to get the best effect one MUST bend over and grab their ankles and this must be done in front of the entire class. That day I wore a short mini-dress. And yes, to all who wonder, I did deserve it. Mark this in your calendar because I am admitting it in writing. Terry Young, I did attempt to look at your answers! I never repeated that behavior. She did make a concession because of the dress, she took me in the hallway where only one boy got to see my underpants, as he was walking down the hall.
B.) She took a lot of medications and had to sleep on pillows to keep her ulcers from acting up.
Mr. Scott - English. He had us read book reports aloud in front of the class. If you laughed or made fun of someone, he called you out and you got into trouble. Way to Go Mr. Scott!! He eventually ran for House of Representatives in our State and made it.
Mrs. Bearup - Science. She was fairly young and had a great love of science. We got to watch her do experiments. It was in this class that I learned what morning sickness was, well sort of. A couple of the girls Kelly and Denise were talking about someone who had morning sickness, I (having missed out on the reproduction class) wanted to know what that meant. The stunned look on their faces told me it was ’something big’, but like the good girls they are, they said “you’d better ask your mother”. So I did, she told me.
Gym class - Heck, I don’t remember her name. I was made to do a flip on the trampoline, I was knocked unconscious. Ended up with a headache for days. It was either do the flip or fail the class. Shortly there after I was doing flips on the mat and broke my baby toe. Kevin, thanks for the shoulder helping me to the office. I’m sorry I knocked you in the forehead with my elbow as I was putting my arm around your shoulder. Dad, now you know why I almost failed Gym class in the 11th grade. I just wasn’t any good at it!
Mr. Falkenstein - Math - The name struck fear into the hearts of boys and girls alike when they discovered he was to be their teacher. The girls because he hated us, all of us. He felt that any girl child born should be drown at birth, flushed down the toilet. If you were a girl it was guaranteed that you would be assigned to write sentences, just because you were breathing. The boys who sat at different tables than the girls had fear too. They were afraid he would kiss them. Yes, he would go up to them and cuddle and try to kiss them. He was short with long gray streaked greasy hair. He looked like he never bathed.
8th and 9th grade at the Round School
In the summer between these 2 years, I lost one of my best friends to a car accident. Penny Shire. She was quiet and shy, but very beautiful with long blond hair. Her Father also perished in the accident. There were 5 of us who ‘hung out’ together so my mom and I took 5 white roses to the funeral home. This was the second death that I had experienced of someone I was close with, my Grandma being the first.
8th grade - To a new school this was called ‘the round school’ because well, it was round. Each class was sectioned off like a piece of pie, with the gym in the middle which was divided by a curtain to separate the boys from the girls.
Ms. Sedge - Gym class This class we learned to do many things, including square dancing. Ricky was the best boy to dance with, he wasn’t afraid and didn’t think it was dumb. We learned to play crab soccer with the big ball, tons of calisthenics. For those of you who were wondering, in the 9th grade when we had to do a couple weeks of exercises and nothing else because of the ’smoking’ in the bathroom. Yes, it was me, only I wasn’t smoking (no, really). For some dumb reason I went into the stall and found a wooden match, like an idiot I lit it. Then realized as soon as I did what I had done, I dropped it in the toilet. I so much wanted to admit it! But we all know she wouldn’t believe I wasn’t smoking.
Mrs. Sallay - English - This teacher was something else! She was upbeat fun, had a love of teaching. Very pretty and had what seemed like a year round tan. She was going to Jamaica for Easter Break to work on her tan some more. We wrote a lot of essays in her class that year.
Mrs. Atwood - science - She made science fun, did lots of experiments in her class. We learned how to burn sugar, record the temps etc. We got to dissect an Earthworm and discuss how many hearts they have and the fact that worms do not need a mate to reproduce.
Art class - I don’t remember her name, but I do remember that she discovered I might have just a bit of artistic talent. I drew my thumb and part of my hand and ended up making a copper tooling of this. I still have it. In her class we almost had free reign to do what we wished. She gave us a basic idea and let us run with whatever talent we possessed.
9th grade - Mr. Goulds - Science. He sat in the front of the class and discussed his love of racing and had pictures of all of his race cars somewhere in the room. I failed his class.
Mrs. Hubbs - Home Ec. - For the most part I knew more than this teacher, I could cook and sew with the best of them. Because she was a ‘teacher’ I listened to her, when she told us that using mayonnaise or Vaseline would ’moisturize’ our hair. My Dad has never let me live this down. I used about half of a large tub of Vaseline (because of course Mom bought Miracle whip rather than Mayonnaise) slathering it all over my head, leaving it on for the recommended hour (according to Mrs. Hubbs) then proceeded to try to rinse it out. Then I tried washing it out, using shampoo. Then I tried using Tide Laundry detergent. Then I tried using Palmolive Dish washing liquid. When it became apparent that I used all of the hot water and still was left with a grease ball head, I begged to be allowed to stay home from school. I was denied. Luckily gym class was 3rd hour for me, I could pretend that I just took a shower. All Mrs. Hubbs could say was “I’m sorry”. Into the 2nd week of being an unofficial ‘greaser’ I found some Stanley degreaser under the kitchen counter. That got it out.
Math - I refuse to remember his name just as he refused to use my name. We spent most of the year arguing. I did my best to get transferred out of his class, but was not allowed. He smelled like cologne - covered poop all the time. I asked him numerous times to use my name Susan rather than the shortened Sue version, he refused. This was where I was supposed to learn pre-algebra, I failed his class. When my college Professor explained to me (when asking a question) “this is something you should have learned in Pre-Algebra” this teacher’s face popped into my brain. This class was where I learned that when you are a student, you are wrong - all the time.
Mrs. Lilly - English - At first I did great in this class, I sat near the teacher right next to Marilyn. We yakked it up a lot. Someone had to be moved so I was selected to be the one. I was put all the way across the room in the corner, the furthest place from the teacher. This was the year I was to learn Nouns, Pro-nouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Adjectives etc. Because I was on the heavy side and she refused to come to the front of the rows to collect papers, mine rarely got turned in. It would mean I had to walk in front of the entire class to turn in my papers. She never once took me aside to ask me what was wrong or why my grades dropped drastically. I failed Mrs. Lilly’s English class.
Ms. Sedge Gym - Once again I had her. Because I had broken my arm at the end of the 8th grade it was weaker and I was afraid of breaking it again. I passed her class with D’s.
There was another happening from that year that is a Hub into itself, when I can face my shame and share it with the world, it will be on here.
I failed the 9th grade miserably and completely. But I was allowed to take summer school to make up the credits I lost and pass into the 10th grade. There were a lot of us in those classes that summer.
Clio for 1 year
During the summer we sold our home, Dad decided we were going to build a house on some property he bought. In the mean time we had to rent a place in the next town over. Mr. Fuzi, the Principal, refused to let me attend my first year of high school with the rest of my class. It was apparent that I could not contribute anything in the area of sports and my academics were something no one wanted to look at. So it was a given that even if I moved in with Mr. Fuzi, he was going to refuse me.
10th Grade - At Clio - I knew I was only going to be spending 1 year here so I truly don’t remember the names of the teachers I had. My English teacher was a man who was certainly in the wrong profession. He wanted to be in films or photography, we got to watch movies in his class. I remember ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and ‘Bonnie and Clyde’.
I took oceanography for my science class even though I needed math and was refused. I passed that class with a C. It was a new teaching concept, all done on cards, there were no books available for this class. I took sewing/home ec and made a jump suit. Typing was required in the 10th grade, I passed that class with a B. Business machines was an elective that I took.
I Aced Drivers Education that summer!
Back to my 'Home' school
11th Grade - Back to my home school, the one I would eventually graduate from.
English - Ms. Tipton - Now here we had a teacher! It became apparent to her early on in the year that I didn’t have a lick of sense. She kept me after class and asked what was wrong, why my papers were bad. I told her that I didn’t understand a thing she was talking about. She asked how I passed 9th grade, then 10th grade. When I explained what had happened she said “Let me think about what I can do”. The next day came, she got everyone settled in to do their work and called me to the hall as she was pulling a desk. She said this would be my place until I finished the work she gave me. For the next 2 weeks I sat in the hallway doing ditto sheets. If I had any questions all I had to do was knock, she was right there to help me out. Yes, I got behind with the rest of the class, but she took me through 2 years of High School English in 2 weeks time. Ms. Tipton, wherever you are, YOU ROCK!!
Ms. Hendrickson - 11th grade History. Now here was a lady who could not only hang with the athletes, but she knew her History and she made it fun. Our first day in class we had a pop quiz, 5 questions. Name, date, the year, her name and the president’s name. Yep, I got 100% on that! Not everyone did. When we read aloud in class one of my words was ‘extraterritoriality‘, when I read it without batting an eye, she praised me. She did that with a lot of students, recognized something good in them and gave them praise.
Mr Husted - Gym - He was able to figure out that I was not a athletic type person but was required to take the class. As long as I dressed for class he passed me with a D. I did participate when we had 'free time', played hand ball and things like that. When the other girls played softball he let me be his leaning post on the bench and we talked.
For the life of me I can’t remember the other classes I was required to take that year. Obviously there was not that much of an impression.
12th grade - Due to my messing up in the 9th grade I had to take some required classes before I could graduate. I was missing an English credit and a math credit.
Back to Ms. Tipton for English - YEAH! She was a very hard grader and if you wanted a good grade, she was going to make you earn it. It took me all year of hard work but I was finally able to earn an A-, we were both extremely pleased.
Mrs Bedoni - We didn’t quite see eye to eye most of the time. She insisted that ALL women were not women unless they had a career. I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother. I hadn’t found my husband yet, but I’d work on it. Because Ms. Tipton had taught me well, she couldn’t fail me because we disagreed, but my grades were less than they should have been.
Mr. Barry - Math - (first half of the year) His idea of teaching was “Do the odd number of problems in the book, only the odd, then check your answers in the back of the book. He liked to sit at his desk and lean back tucking his hand down the front of his pants.
Mrs. DeCou - Secretarial class - This was a 2 hour class. She liked to set me by her desk and chat. Because we chatted so much I didn’t get any work done and my grades suffered. I passed her class with a D. I can properly fill out an application, I know how to shake hands, and dress for the job I am seeking, so I did learn something (actually a lot) in this class, my grades just didn’t prove it.
Independent Living - I cannot remember the teachers name but we did a lot of cooking in her class. I learned how to balance a check book, do laundry, and the various other things that come with living on ones own.
Mr. Jean - Mrs. Cole - Government and Economics - Yeah, I still don’t get it.
Can one learn after graduating?
I graduated 212 out of 255 students. My GPA was 1.67, it stunk, no ifs ands or buts about it. One would think that I didn’t learn a thing. When I went to college 3 years later, my GPA was 3.5 but I was required to take a ‘basic math‘ class (0 + 0 = 0). These teachers got paid whether you learned or not and really didn’t care one way or another. At 3.5 GPA, you could say I did improve with age.
Is there hope for the future of Public School?
Now that I have taken you down my long path of memory lane, the question is; Do the teachers deserve automatic raises? Do they deserve a cheaper form of health care, compared to other workers ?
Why isn’t it possible that rather than an ’across the board’ raise, the raises are based on merit? I realize that hanging out with kids all day for 9 months out of the year can make a sane person go a little nutty. I do not begrudge a person a raise, far from it. What I am asking isn’t it possible to have the student take a test at the end of the year and if say 50% of the class fails, replace the teacher? Possibly anonymous survey’s from students, parents and other teachers? Maybe a combination of all of the above. Somehow, some way monitor the teachers.
Shouldn’t teachers, who are responsible for the teaching of our children be required to have just a little more than a degree? Maybe a little psychology thrown in for good measure, so when a child starts sliding down that slippery slope of being forgotten, they will notice.
Yes, I know I am going to make some of you mad when you read this, but please understand not all Teachers are Great. Not all Teachers have the ability to teach. Those that can't, shouldn't. To me Teaching is a very important profession and one that should not be entered into lightly. You can either make a great impact on a student or none at all.
One Day when I see my name in lights (or on a bookshelf) I want to give credit where credit is due. Ms Tipton, you get the very first dedication!
There were GREAT Teachers!
I cannot be the only person who has managed to graduate High School by the skin of their teeth (yeah dumb saying, I know). I did have a couple of GREAT teachers, and of those if I could, I’d make sure they got triple the raises. But for the most part my memories of the rest are nothing to write home about. To me those teachers were there for the paycheck and nothing else. They don’t deserve the distinction of being called a Teacher if they did not teach. They had other things on their agenda and my education was not part of it.