Original Post date: April 12, 2006
I ran across my high school yearbook yesterday that was thrown in a closet when we moved. I dusted it off..opened it up to the faculty section, and started remembering some of the teachers…
In my twelve years of public school, I probably had three teachers that really reached me. Thats three out of about 55 teachers. In high school, most of the teachers I had just seemed tired of being harassed by smart aleck kids, tired of not making any money, tired of students who dont really care that much about the subject they teach. The teachers I remembered the most from junior high and high school were the ones that were my coaches. You get to know a grown-up so much better when they’re coaching you. That didnt make them better teachers…I just have more solid memories of them. One of my coaches was my biology teacher and I remember that he didnt care if players showed up for class so I skipped his class over 40 times in one year. Needless to say, he wasnt one of the teachers that made a difference. I did have a few that really put in the extra effort and truly cared that their message was being heard. Those classes were like an oasis in the desert for me.
Since this is a blog and unlike my radio show I dont have to hurry to get to the song or the commercial, I will make a list of the teachers I remember and one line or more about what I remember about them. Some names have been changed on the remote chance they read this and want to sue me:
1st grade: Mrs. Lester. They originally put me in another class but I cried and peed my pants so I could be in the same class with Jimmy Blizzard and they moved me. In her mid-50s. Grandmotherly. Let us take long naps. Pretty sure she joined us.
2nd grade: I cannot remember her name. She left in the middle of the year to have a baby and never came back. We had about 5 different substitutes. This is when I learned you cannot trust adults.
3rd grade: Miss Baldwin. Early 20s and HOT. I loved her so much. She used to tell me after school what an amazing reader I was. I loved her so much I would get depressed everyday when school was almost over. Contemplated proposingfigured the age difference would be too much to overcome. I was 9.
4th grade: Miss Welch. First woman I ever knew that was divorced. She lost like 50 pounds that year and started dressing a lot different. I remember that vividly. They skipped me to 5th grade just before Christmas. I got picked on a lot for being the youngest. I used to go back to Miss Welch and beg to get back in her class.
5th grade: Miss Turner. My first teacher who was a neighbor. That was weird. A spinster in her late sixties. A year before I had her, her dog attacked me and sent me to the emergency room. She was always overly-nice to me, probably trying to avoid a lawsuit.
6th grade: Mr. Adkins. A MALE teacher! Cranky. Strict. Damn good teacher. Taught me to do math addition from left to right instead of right to left. CHANGED my life. Ill bet hes dead now because he had one foot in the grave when I had him, but man, was he a good teacher. This was the first of three years when I was bussed to an all-black school 10 miles from my house. He came over from the white school and treated everybody the same. Not all the new teachers did. I liked him a lot.
7th grade: Mr Cope. Girls called him The Hotty and Mr. Gropenot because he would grope them but because they wanted to grope HIM. He was probably 24 years old. Early in the school year, his new wife of less than a year got cancer and by February, she was dead. He collapsed. I was only 12 but I could recognize that I was watching a person crumble before my eyes. He aged 10 years in three months. Really sad. Went back to visit him a couple times since graduating.
8th grade: No major teacher memories. Sent back to my neighborhood school. No more busing. Everything seemed so new and school was so much harder.
9th grade: Mrs. Stanson. She taught speed reading. An actual class. Problem: She didnt know how to speed read and openly admitted it. Said she was transferred to the subject against her will. Hilarious. We would sit in class and try to learn to speed read and the teacher would try to learn right along with us. First realization that school administrators didnt always know what they were doing.
9th grade: Mr. Shaw. Lonely little man who taught drama. Wore his pants way too low. Passionate liberal. Instilled in us that we would never be great unless we stopped caring all the time what people thought of us. His motto was, Take Chances.Most People Dont. Learned a lot.
10th grade: Mr. Williams. Openly gay chorus teacher. Completely passionate about music and got us all feeling the same way. Cool guy. Not my first gay teacher I suspect, but the first one who didnt hide it. Wore lots of Burberry way back then. First teacher to call me at homenot because he was a pervbut because he called ALL his students at home at some point. He cared that much.
11th grade: Coach Sapache. My science teacher and football coach. Nearly killed a guy on our team when he grabbed him by the helmet and banged his head against a brick wall. The kid fell to the ground and convulsed. He was fired and charged.
12th grade: Ms. Leach. Constantly encouraged me to write even though I knew I wanted to be a deejay. Forced me to write. Gave me brutal critiques. In May of senior year, she gave me an unpublished book she had written. It was brilliant. I wish I had known how great she was. I would have paid more attention to her.
There you have it. MEMORIES! Even if you skipped around, it was still worth writing just for the memories. If you’re a teacher, how cool that people remember you all these years later. Much love..