As I was going through my memory box the other day, I came across some stuff from High School. After I got over how bad my hair was (and contrary to DearWife's contention, I saw no evidence of a mullet), I thought back to some teachers I had.
Everyone has a couple teachers who really affected them throughout their lives. I wrote about one such teacher a while ago. There were two more whom I never really thanked for their influence. So I'm taking a quick time out from kids stories and daddy angst to say thanks (hey at least it ain't more baby duckling stories).
Sheila Munter: I grew up in a farming town. Even though we were close to a college town, it was a pretty big deal to have a teacher who studied at Oxford. Mrs. Munter was my Senior English teacher. I hated English and hated writing. I really blame it all on my sophomore teacher. One time she said "give me all of your interpretations of this book, and remember, no one is wrong." I hesitantly raised my hand and gave my interpretation. I swear she held back a giggle and literally said "no, that's completely wrong."
In addition to hating English, I sucked at writing. Math? Easy. No problem. Black and white. But I really had a very difficult time putting words to paper in a way that made sense. Not that I'm a great writer by any stretch now. But my ability to communicate is one of the things that has led to a lot of my success.
If I wasn't too lazy to write a letter and track down her address, I'd be telling her directly.
Bob (Dr. Bob) Haugen: He was my sophomore Chemistry teacher. It was because of him that I entered college as a Chemistry major. It wasn't his fault that Chem101 was across campus at 8am and I changed majors immediately. Dr. Bob was immensely popular. There was a full page article on the HS paper when he left in the middle of the year.
It wasn't so much how he taught or what he taught that left an impression. He let us grade our own homework, and didn't really care if we cheated. He cared that we learned the lessons and that our grades reflected it. He didn't mind if we took a long lunch at Ponderosa and spent an extra 10 minutes at the Sundae bar.
He told us stories that directly related to what he was teaching. For some reason, I vividly recall a story he told us about playing basketball when he was in college. I think I remember it because I was having trouble seeing this awkward intellectual playing basketball with his buddies. And one day, inexplicably he let me drive his car to his house to pick up something. I can't tell you how many different ways that could have gone wrong.
Anyway, he taught me that there are different ways to be a leader. Different ways to get your point across. His enthusiasm was infectious.
With DearWife having been a teacher for a while, I know that the good ones don't get thanked enough. So I wanted to throw this out there.