Monday, April 19, 2010

Teachers and Homework

Many of you have expressed shock and disbelief over the fact that I neglected to to a term paper in 10th grade English. I thought I'd take this opportunity to expound on that particular topic.

Everyone has at least one teacher that was a huge influence on them. You remember them fondly and can still see their class room in your mind's eye. The first of these for me was Mr. Wood, my second grade teacher.

I remember that he was an architect by training but was interested in all of this educational theory that was ahead of its time. We had stationed based learning experiences at a time when most kids were still writing their spelling words five times each and using flash cards to memorize times tables.

One time he actually brought check books and registers to teach us how to write checks, record the information and then make it balance. Who does that with 7 and 8 year olds?

Another time he took us on a field trip to the anthropology department at LSU where they showed us skulls they were working to reconstruct so they could see what the person looked like when they were alive. Only 20 years ahead of CSI, lol.

Mr. Wood was really tall, or at least seemed so to me. He always smelled of coffee - there was a thermos that he was constantly replenishing the mug on his desk with. He also uttered the words that affected my entire school career to follow: "Homework is pointless. You will never have homework while attending my class. If you can't learn it while you're at school, how will it help you to work on it alone at home?"

I know it's completely ridiculous, but that really stuck with me. If I couldn't learn it while at school, why bother? I've often wondered if my school career, if not my life, would've been different if that idea hadn't gotten stuck in my head.

I had other teachers that were excellent and that I learned a lot from: Mr. Fowler, my seventh grade science teacher, Doc Walsh, my 11th and 12th grade English teacher, Mr. Gebauer, my World History AP teacher, Ms Morgan, my American History teacher, Ms Sonnier, my chemistry teacher. There was something different about them - I actually did my homework and participated in class for them. I don't know if it was because they were really good motivators or did something different that inspired enough respect in me that I took their classes seriously.

Who was your teacher that influenced you? What was different about them that made you try harder?

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