perils with writing and whatnot
Shery, the operator and owner of Write Bliss, where I found this e-course, LifeWrite, wants me to do some descriptive writing, classifying a group of people. In her article for the fourth module, she states that everything is classified in life. It’s our way, as humans, to understand the world around us. For my exercise, she proposed classifying one of six groups of people. What she is after is to have me learn how to creatively describe people who would be characters in a story I would write.
Although this hits me as being as difficult to do as the comparison module I have yet to finish, for reasons that must be subconscious, I feel more assured that I can complete this one without many hitches. Out of the six groups Shery has allowed, I have chosen teachers as my group.
There has only been a few teachers that I have had during my years of formal education that have stuck in my mind. Maybe I romanticize about the past too much, but it’s the teachers that I did well for that I remember with ease.
Mrs. Worthsmith was my fifth grade teacher. Most kids either loved her or hated her. I never could figure out why those few hated her, but somehow they managed it. She stuck out like a sore thumb on the playground at lunchtime because of the clothes she wore.
She was a big woman who had a flair for dressing as loud as possible. I don’t ever remember any of her clothes being drab or even ordinary. Moreover, she accented her flamboyant wardrobe with a wide white streak in her hair right at her forehead. During the holiday seasons that dotted the school year, she would change that color to one that represented those festive days. For instance, her streak would be orange for Halloween, or pink for Valentine’s Day, or red for Memorial Day.
During my fifth grade year, I think I learned more that I retained than in any other years of my academic education. Mrs. Worthsmith didn’t just teach the subjects for the fifth grade. She would combine them so that the students would know how each one worked in the everyday lives of people. Moreover, each year her social studies class learned about a different country in depth, always one that she had spent time in during the previous summer. I not only learned about Kenya. I used my math class to discover what the area was of this country, and how many hours it was from one village to the next. My English class was spent writing reports about Kenya.
She was truly a marvelous teacher. I would classify her as being ‘flamboyant’.
During my three years at the district junior high school (now known as middle school), I played the flute in the band and orchestra. The conductor, as he preferred to be known as, was Mr. Bastian. He was a kind and gentle man of mid-stature.
His disposition would stay positive and encouraging if you did as you should in his class and at the school in its entirety. This meant the students should have their eyes in his baton and be playing the music in front of them. If you weren’t paying attention in his class, you got an eraser thrown at you. Needless to say, anyone not interested in music as an art didn’t stay in his class long.
Mr. Bastian’s instrument was the bass violin, and he shined in the area of jazz. Because of this passion he had, he was willing to have the more contemporary music scores on hand. We played music scores like the one of the movie, Space Odyssey 2000, the play/musical, Hair, and individual pieces written by Leonard Bernstein and Richard Carpenter, just to name a few.
Mr. Bastian was a music student’s dream teacher. I would classify him as being ‘passionate’.
I went to the best public high school in the city. This meant that most of the teachers I had during my sophomore year to my senior year were consider excellent – and most of them were just that. Coach Weimer, the school basketball coach and my American History teacher was one of them, in fact, surpassed being excellent to being superb.
The only time I ever saw him wear suit was at graduations. Because I was in the orchestra, I was there too for all three years. I was one of the few who knew he had a suit to wear. He usually wore a checkered shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and corduroy jeans. He was big and brawny, kind of like the Mr Clean guy in the commercials, only with hair on his head.
There were six blackboards (well… green boards) in Mr Weimer’s classroom. He would fill all of them up with information that he wanted us to know while he would be talking about the particulars. And this happened with all of his classes every day. He wasn’t all that concerned with a lot of the actual dates of events, but a stickler about other details that were involved.
When it was time for the class to study the Vietnam War, he brought in a student teacher who had been there as one of the US soldiers. The Coach wanted us to know first hand what went on during that war. (My high school years were at the last of this war.)
I only got a C+ in his class, but I have retained most of what I learned from him. He truly wanted his students to learn and appreciate their heritage. I would classify his as being ‘exhaustive’.
These three teachers were so different in many ways. However, the effect that they had on me was almost identical for each one. I was never afraid of any of them. I respected them as teachers, and in general. And I knew that they respected me. They were a positive influence that I cannot forget.
Text+Sound by Wayne Mason
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