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Favorite Teachers

September 10, 2009
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In elementary school, my favorite teacher was Sister Lucinda, my seventh grade algebra teacher. She was 5′ 8″ and a buck-o-five. She had the disposition of, oh I don’t know, a robot. I think that’s atypical as favorite teachers go, but I can’t deny the impact that she had on me. She taught me that some things in life are cut and dried; that in some situations there is a right answer. She fostered my love of math. With math, I didn’t have to convince anyone of anything – the numbers proved themselves.
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In high school, the honor goes to Steve Hammersky, senior year calculus. Mike Herman who taught me three years of accounting seems like the obvious choice and he’s a close second. But Hammersky gets the nod. My senior year homeroom was the same classroom as shop class. I never took shop in high school and I never, not once, had occasion to be in that part of the building. That is until I was assigned a homeroom my senior year. The shop class room’s climate control left much to be desired. And my homeroom “teacher” was a big fan of the silence-is-golden method of homeroom administration. There was no way that I was going to spend the entire year in that dungeon in silence. EVERY SINGLE DAY Mr. Hammersky would write me a note excusing me from homeroom so that I could work in the computer lab. By Christmas I was typing the shop teacher’s tests (to him computer programmer=typist). In addition to saving my ass from homeroom, Hammersky allowed us to take one class period to watch Monty Python and serve Spam and crackers. Also, we made t-shirts with a caricature of Hammersky on the front and the integration elongated ‘s’ and the words “Disciples of Swokowski” on the back. Hammersky arranged it so that we could eschew our shirts and ties one day and wear those shirts. I know that you’re thinking – I’m a dork. I know. Oh, one other thing. Hammersky was a good teacher.

Finally, my college teaching hero was Frank Forbes, Business Law I and II. I took Business Law II, which was not required, just because of that guy. He walked into class the first day, pretending to trip over the overhead projector’s cord, and began asking us legal questions about that situation. It’s the Socratic method and it’s used extensively in law school, but that was the first and last time I’d experienced it. Someone asked if he took attendance, to which he said “You’ll want to show up every day.” But do you take attendance? “You’ll want to show up every day.” How many days can we miss? “You’ll want to show up every day.” I loved that attitude – don’t try to game the system, just get your ass to class. I turned in my final exam consisting of 17 essays on the legal implications of a particular set of facts (no multiple choice for this guy). A few days later I stopped by his office and asked how I did. He said, “You got an A”. I asked if I could see my test so that I can see his comments. “I don’t really write on the tests. Don’t worry about it.” In other words, he knew everybody’s grade before we took the final. I never had another teacher like him. He didn’t just follow a syllabus, he taught.

Who was your favorite teacher?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Debbie permalink
    September 10, 2009 11:01 am

    My favorite teacher was my 2nd and 6th grade teacher, both the same, Mrs. Sporsic. She was beautiful and I wanted to grow up to be just like her. She had blonde hair that she fixed in an “up do” every day. I saw her about 5 years ago, she hasn’t changed her hair, although she has aged but beautifully.

  2. nancyk5000 permalink*
    September 10, 2009 3:45 pm

    Mrs. Esterbrook high school Reading. She had no eyebrows and used eyeliner to pencil them in.

  3. September 10, 2009 7:29 pm

    I never had a favorite teacher. Not a single one of them stood out from the other. I had a few teachers I hated… That should be tomorrow’s post.

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