Education today is a mess. Teachers aren’t allowed to teach and even worse, students don’t have the opportunity to really learn.
I was lucky because I had teachers who taught me to learn. To love reading, to make up stories. To write them down. To create non-fiction which was complete, accurate, and unbiased. To find humor in physics. To love history, religion, archaeology, philosophy and the mysteries of our world.
They encouraged curiosity, imagination and creative thinking.
Mrs. Schiff, 4th grade teacher at P.S. 35, who suggested I write “diaries” of historical people and learn to put myself into their worlds. Thank you. You made me feel special and talented and those lessons have traveled far and wide.
Dr. Silver, who taught English Literature and Linguistics at Jamaica High school. He forced me to parse sentences and respect punctuation and grammar while making me laugh. His doctorate in Linguistics helped him make our language intriguing, like a giant mystery to unravel. I’m still unraveling it.
College was the most fun I ever had and the best work I ever did.
Mr. Wekerle, head of Hofstra University’s Philosophy department. He believed in me. He taught phenomenology, History of Religion, Philosophy of Religion, but more importantly, saw through my bullshit. The first — and only professor to give me a grade of D-/A+ … D- for content, A+ for style.
He didn’t let me get away with anything. He made me fill in all those leaps of logic even though I whined vociferously that “everyone knows that stuff.”
Wekerle said “No, they don’t. You know it. Now tell them about it.”
And I did and from that I got a 40 year career.
Dr. Feiffer — my high school physics teacher — taught me even I, the least mathematically inclined student ever — could be fascinated by science. I never got it together with numbers, but I learned to love science and still do. The logic of it, the truth of it, the importance of it have stayed with me an entire lifetime. I got what I needed from dedicated teachers who worked for crappy salaries to teach dunderheads and wise-asses like me to think, write, research and love learning.
The gifts they gave me were priceless.
Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet — Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?