TO LOVE LEARNING, WE NEED GREAT TEACHERS

Education in the U.S. is a disaster these days. Teachers aren’t permitted to teach. Worse, students don’t get the chance to really learn. The curriculum is all memorization and standardized tests leaving no opportunity to explore ideas and concepts, to even discover there is more to education than passing exams.

I was lucky. I had teachers who helped me learn to learn. To love reading, to make up stories. To write them. To create non-fiction which was complete, accurate, and unbiased and to know what that means. To find humor in physics. To love history, religion, archaeology, philosophy and the mysteries of our world.

They encouraged curiosity, imagination and creative thinking.

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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.

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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. Now tell them.”

And I did. From that grew 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. I 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: WE CAN BE TAUGHT — 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?

Just a month ago, this one came around. The title is slightly altered,but it’s the same subject in almost the same words. Mind you, it’s a pleasant subject, but so recently written, I can’t see any reason to write it again. Hey, if you’re going to recycle the prompts as often as once per month, I’ll recycle my response. If it’s good for the goose, it must be perfectly okay for the gander, right? But wait … I’M the goose. Oops. Bad analogy. 



Categories: Anecdote, Daily Prompt, Education, Humor

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

32 replies

  1. Whether in or out of school – a great teacher is…PRICELESS!

    Like

  2. What a wonderful and uplifting post. I hope there are still teachers like the ones you had that leave such an impression and offer so much

    Like

  3. As a former teacher, I tried to remember that every single thing I said could be a good or bad “forever” memory. I did my best. http://lilypupslife.wordpress.com/

    Like

  4. I’ll never forget my first grade teacher who taught me how to read every morning before school. I needed that extra help getting started, but once I did I ended up reading more than anyone I know, especially now so many years later. The gift she gave me is something I’ll never forget.

    Like

  5. Lovely Marilyn, really wonderful to hear how your have such fond memories, and how it affected your life.

    Like

  6. It is so sad what is going on in the schools today. A good teacher is worth his/her wieght in gold.
    Leslie

    Like

  7. A few decent teachers can make a massive difference to someone’s future life. I had some particularly good ones for English, German and Physics. And what a surprise – I’ve lived in Germany, went through Physics at university and enjoy reading and writing. Coincidence? I think not.

    Like

  8. My son’s education was very good, Swiss Gymnasium and they had some good teachers. When he is in town he might meet them, they have now become colleagues and they gave him a good pointer in life.

    Like

  9. We are really lucky when such good teachers come into our lives.

    Like

  10. A great teacher can do wonders.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. The Daily Prompt #12: We Can Be Taught | Laissez Faire
  2. We can be taught | My Kaleidoscope

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