our lives, we meet all kinds of people and that fact alone makes life
interesting, for sure. After all, the world would be a pretty boring
place if all of us were identical in what we think, say,
colleagues I've encountered in the education field are no exception.
Some teachers went “by
the book” in their dealings with students and administrators, while
others followed their own set of guidelines. One
teacher in particular seemed to defy authority and rules more than
most, and this guy enjoyed every second of it. Personality
as his can
some teachers very effective educators, and most of the time the
students love them. All three of my own children were taught by one
of those individuals whom the administration
described as being “too cavalier” during his tenure. But, he was
an excellent teacher, although he referred to himself as a
“facilitator of learning” rather than a teacher.
numerous times Arriving
at school one day, Mr. Cavalier sported no tie. This was the last
straw for our school superintendent, who
expected all personnel to adhere to the district dress code. Our
boss sent him home and demanded that he return wearing a tie.
as exactly as he was told,
returned to school wearing
a respectable dress tie. However, never
to completely bow to authority, he
tie over a plain white T-shirt. In
completed his attire with jeans, sandals, and no socks.
his complete opposite Another
of my colleagues was a
first-class gentlemen, known by all as a great teacher and coach as
well as a man who would never cuss or swear no matter how angry he
may have been.These
attributes were on display during a faculty meeting in which we were
instructed to come down hard on students who were walking the halls
late in the school day without proper passes. It
should be pointed out that during this time, there was a small group
of students who found it fun to use M-80s to blow up some teachers'
mailboxes at night in our district.
leery of reporting these students,” the teacher proclaimed during
the meeting. Remember, this guy would never use improper language at
any time; yet he feared student retaliation if he reported them.
Never permitting himself to use the nasty
teacher exclaimed, “I'll be garsh-darned if I'm going to be the
'leprechaun' here.” Needless
to say, the entire faculty got a kick out of his vocabulary usage. Back
to first grade No
recollection of teachers would be complete without mentioning my
first-grade teacher. She was neither effective, well-liked, nor a
lady. In fact, in today’s society she would be fired. Due process
is a courtesy this woman did not deserve.
will never forget the time she slapped me across my face, thinking I
was some kind of wise guy. The smack left a visible welt. What was
the infraction that caused the assault, you ask? I had accidentally
made a purple sky and a foreground of brown grass while making my art
drawing. It never occurred to the Wicked Witch of Western PA that I
was, and still am, colorblind.
is all about the kids Students
come in an assortment, too, to say the least. Without trying
a good relationship
with most of them, I would have left education soon after I started
my career. At this time of my life, I would like to thank them all.
One way or another, they made my career worthwhile, mostly enjoyable,
and forever memorable.
antics of one unforgettable student, John Kuklo, have remained in my
recollections for many years. (I'm using John's name here in this
story out of respect for his humor and wit.)
hearing repeated requests to use the restroom, teachers can usually
tell who is in real need of using the facilities and who is taking
advantage of the situation in order to take a break from class or
perhaps to seek out a friend in the hallway.
time John asked repeatedly to use the restroom. I denied
his request a few times and then he replied, “But, I really do have
to use the lav. I'm going to have an accident if you don't let me
get you a mop,” I retorted.
reply remains with me forever --
“You better get a shovel.”
state of oblivion I
was as frustrated as I could possibly be one day when the kids were
just not getting the lesson. It may have been a Friday afternoon or
the day before a vacation, but it was apparent that nothing was
working that day and the kids just weren't into whatever it was that
we were discussing.
Finally, I blurted out, “What's wrong with you
today? It seems as though your minds are in a state of oblivion.”
pausing, I then followed up with, “Never mind, you probably don't
know what I meant by that, anyway.”
boy raised his hand and said, “I know, I know what you meant!”“What?”
I asked, not expecting an accurate answer. “It's
a country in South America,” the little guy proudly answered.
say the darndest things” Art
Linkletter is given credit for promoting that line above, but older
students sure have contributed to the topic, too. With students,
however, an addition to the phrase might be “.... and at the most
inopportune time.” For instance...
was a case where a boy entered the classroom of an older teacher
whose discipline was suspect the last few years he taught. As the boy
walked into the room late, with
a wad of tobacco under his lower lip, he
asked a fellow student aloud, “Can you tell I have a chew in?” At
a different time in the same classroom, another boy entered late,
a dumbfounded tone, he
blurted out the
blaring question, “Why in the H is it so quiet in here?”
both of those students' inquiries, the principal was sitting in the
rear of the classroom as the teacher was being observed for effective
teaching. I can almost guarantee the evaluation did not go well.
fit for the papers A
few other recollections that might not be suitable for the newspapers are included below:
one life science lesson, the kids were glued to the video screen with
intrigue as a smaller male tarantula was mating with the much larger
female. He had to be very careful because many female species of
spiders eat their partner after mating has taken place.
narrator explained that the little guy had to use two of his eight
legs to tap softly on the female’s fangs, to pacify her in hopes
she wouldn’t devour him. On the quiz the next day, a grade seven
student got the whole scenario mixed up just a tad.
asked why a spider might tap on the other during mating, one girl
replied in writing, “She wants to keep his ‘wangs’ away.”
retrospect, I thought to myself, “Yep, that might work, too.”
Dick Family Our
school had a dozen or more families living in our district, each with
the last name, “Dick.” They were all respectable families but
happened to have an odd last name to say the least.
in the faculty room a male English teacher was explaining to a math
teacher, that he had a discipline issue with a student who’s last
name happened to be Dick.
female math teacher asked, “Do you know if the boy is related to
English teacher replied, “No, this guy is from a ‘different bunch
of dicks.’” As a few of us roared with laughter, the female math
teacher’s face turned a shade of red that this color blind author
has never seen before. And that expression has been burned in my
retina ever since.
offense meant with that last anecdote – It was just an amusing quip
that has remained me for many years.
attempts at writing old stories will come to an end this December.
It has been a pleasure reminiscing those good old days with my