You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you?
I don’t need to find some historical teacher out of history. I had real-life, real-time teachers to whom I will be eternally grateful. They taught me to learn, to love reading, to make up stories and write them down. To write non-fiction that was complete, accurate and unbiased. To find humor in physics. To love history, religion, archaeology, philosophy and all the mysteries of our world.
P.S. 35, Queens
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.
Jamaica High School
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 together with numbers, but I learned to love science and I still do. The logic of it, the truth of it, the importance of it have stayed with me an entire lifetime.
I didn’t and don’t need teachers from the mists of time. 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.
Bless them all. The gifts they gave me were precious beyond words!