Saturday, November 10, 2007

Memories of Teachers, part 1

We recall teachers for all manner of different reasons -- inspiring, boring, unreasonable, friendly, strict, brilliant, outrageous.

It's humor that shows up in my clearest memories of certain teachers.

Here is the Miss Watkins' story I mentioned in a comment on 11/4.

One day, Miss Watkins shared a vignette from a visit home to Georgia the previous summer. She attended a church meeting in which the congregation was debating whether to keep the King James' version of the Bible or to begin using the Revised Standard Version.

A silver haired lady bolted to her feet, her eyes flashing fire. To dramatize the woman's rermarks, Miss W. intensified her own southern speech and she delivered this line loudly, and with gusto, "If the King James Bible was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!"

The fourth period English students cracked up, Miss Watkins laughing right along with us.

She always treated us as adults who were on par with her -- what a class act. Who else enjoyed Miss Watkins?

Which teachers do YOU remember -- and why??

~ Dena Ward Clayton


Mike Rappaport said...

My senior English teacher, Rachel Maguire, was the best teacher I ever had, although she had a very odd way of grading.

One quarter I had 12 A's and one B and got a B. I asked her why and she said she only gave one A, to whoever was the best in the class in a quarter.

With the grade inflation they have these days, imagine a teacher trying to do that.

Dale Morgan said...

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Keever, the Art teacher. The class was pretty much split between the artists and the wannabe's. I was a wannabe. Another wannabe who sat next to me was Carol Witaschek (that in itself made the class fun). Anyhow, Mrs. Keever treated all of us the same just as if us wannabe's had a lot of talent. She actually gave me enough confidence to draw a halfway decent picture. Even Tom Jones approved and he is a magnificent artist who is good enough to make a living at it. That pen and ink drawing is hanging in my guest bedroom today and on the back of the drawing is the "A-" Mrs. Keever gave me.

Rex Foley said...

Dale, I had Mrs. Keever also for Art III when I was a senior. She certainly was my favorite as well. I remember that she had a rule that when you saw another student's drawing you were forbidden to ask "What's that?". She was always very kind and understanding.

Years later, I was fortunate enough to work with her on a different level. I was the major publisher of school yearbooks in Northern Virginia and the DC area from 1976 - 1982. Mrs. Keever was the faculty sponsor for the WTW art literary magazine and I published 3 or 4 years worth of award winning issues for her before she retired. She was a wonderful person. I will always miss her.

I also was in awe of some of the extremely talented students in the class, especially Patrice DeJardins. He could draw anything and it was done perfectly.

On the other hand, I had the very ridged Mrs. Benton for French II and she did not like the goatee that I was growing on my chin. She sent me to the office and I was told not to come back until I shaved it off. It took me about a week to get 'around to it'.

How times have changed....

Mike Rappaport said...

Hey Rex. I had Mrs. Benton for French I and she might just have been the worst teacher I ever had.

She spoke French with a hillbilly accent, and she had no control over the class at all.

We had some really wild freshmen and sophomores in the class -- I was a junior -- and they were out of control.

They used to call her by her first name, and all she would do is say, "You shouldn't call me that."

My French II teacher was completely different the next year -- Ms. DuBrow. Voluptuous with short, tight dresses.

The guys in the class were going crazy, and I think she knew it.

Dale Morgan said...

I had Mrs. Benton for french my sophomor year and I remember learning french with a southern accent, too!! How funny! I was too much of a goody goody (really more afraid they would tell my parents and I would still be locked in the attic)so I never gave her a hard time. But there were some other classmates I will not name, but I remember who they were, who were brutal to her. One day she got so mad she kicked the metal trash can across the room and it bounced off her desk and came back at her. I felt sorry for her that day and thought the class had gone too far. But I have to agree with you both that she just did not have control of the class.

And, Rex, that is really interesting that you worked so closely with Mrs. Keever after graduation. Sounds like you did a great job.

Am I correct that Mrs. Keever was our classmate, Greg Keever's Mom?

Rex Foley said...

Yes Dale that was Gregs' mother and they lived in Mantua near Barbara Larkin. I believe I heard that Greg is an attorney in LA, Ca.

Jone Pascoe said...

I had forgotten you did the yearbook thing. I really think my memory is going. I wish you had made it to the reunion. I would have loved seeing you!


Rex Foley said...

Sorry I missed you too! I normally make it to Florida at least once a year. Usually to catch a cruise.

Maybe we should get together on our birthday since we share not only the day, but the month and year as well, Jan 29, 1950, it's amazing! What are the odds! LOL

Carol (Witaschek) Beaupre said...

Wow - flashbacks!! The most fun I can have nowadays!

I remember sitting next to Dale in Art class and praying that some day my hair would behave half as well as hers always did. I don't think we did too badly for wannabe artists! We were more poetically inclined though....

I also had Mrs. Benton in French. She was a tad harsh!

Anonymous said...

Who had Ms. Henry for Senior English? Talk about intimidating. Every time I saw her all I could think of was a Viking warrior queen. But I did learn more in her class than any other English class in high school or college.

Harry Hull

Dena said...

Harry, were we in senior English together? We sat near the front of some class, some year.

Last week, I searched through the yearbook looking for which English teacher I had that last year - and no one seemed familiar! hmmmm...

~ Dena