Back in 1964 this was the Wapak Women’s Club, and my first school. In those days you didn’t have to go to Kindergarten so it wasn’t at the elementary yet. Also Kindergarten was only for half-day. I don’t remember anything about it, but I’ve been told my dad brought me home. He was teaching Ohio History at Blume Middle School and could slip out to take me home since mom didn’t have a car.
I went to Centennial for elementary school. I don’t remember my 1st grade teacher, but I loved Mrs. Metzger and 2nd grade. I became a reader, made all things Indian, and sang along with my ukulele-playing teacher. She even had a class picnic at her house. It was also the year of the green bean incident (Link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/dads-get-it-they-just-get-it). In 3rd grade I had Mrs. Crumrine. The only thing I remember is that she sent me a get-well card when I was in the hospital getting my tonsils out. How do teachers know these things? I don’t know, but it meant the world that she remembered me.
In grades 4-6, I went to a brand-new building, Northridge. I was one of its first students. In 4th grade I had Mrs. Klayton in 4A. There were 2 other sections of 4th grade at Northridge, and 3 sections at Centennial. For the 1st time Wapak kids were divided between two elementaries. We’d meet again in middle school.
In 5th grade I had Mrs. Miller. I was in her first class, and would you believe one of my kids was in her last class? I had Mr. Davis in 6th grade. I remember because he was the first male teacher I had in my elementary career. Other than the principal, he was the only male teacher in an elementary building.
Welcome to Junior High! At least that’s what grades 7-9 were called back in the day. Like the Women’s Club, these two building have another history. The 1st was once Wapak’s High School. It’s most famous graduate was Neil Armstrong. The other building was the local library. Dad took me there until the new one was built. The librarians were impressed with the classics I read. Thanks, dad!
When I went to Junior High, Dad was never my teacher. He didn’t want that. After getting his master’s degree, he got the job as principal at Harrod Elementary School, but some of his favorite colleagues were my teachers, like Mr. O’Black, Mr. Van Gundy, and Mrs. Carter. My all-time favorite teacher was the band director Miss Souder. She scared me, kind of like Mrs. Metzger, but she pushed me to be grow in concert band, and in private lessons. The band room was on the top floor of the red brick building. Chorus was on the 2nd floor with Mrs. Chadwick. I hated singing, but loved accompanying the singers on the piano.
This is my High School, Wapak Senior High. Now it’s Wapak Middle School. My favorite teacher was the band director, Mr. Trump. I spent 3 years with him in concert and marching band.
I’ve never been a science person, but I loved two of my science teachers. They got me through 2 difficult subjects! Mr. Taylor was the chemistry teacher. He was always funny. I don’t know how he did it, but he even made the periodic table of elements interesting. Mr. Taylor was a gifted teacher!
Mr. Niemeyer taught physics, the hardest class I ever took. It’s also the only class that I got a C, or two, in high school. I was grateful. They were gifts! I tried hard, but the logic of physics never fit my brain. Surprisingly, I held the bridge building record for years, not because I was good at it, but because I recognized a good idea. The 2 brightest people in my class broke their bridge on a Friday. I took the 2 best things from their bridges, put them together, then had my high school boy friend build it, while I wrote my English paper. There’s nothing like procrastination! I was surprised to win that year, and shocked to discover my bridge held the record for years. Somehow I could never confess to Mr. Niemeyer that I didn’t build that bridge, even though I did design it. I’m glad to confess now. I hear it’s good for the soul.
After high school, I decided to become a teacher, and there’s nothing like being a Buckeye! I spent 2 years at Ohio State, Lima. I spent most of my time in Galvin Hall, and I remember 2 teachers from those days, Mary Lou Roush and Victor Columbine
Mary Lou was my FEEP instructor (Freshman early experience). That was my first teaching class. I went out into the field and got to work as a teacher’s aide. Dad volunteered me again, this time with one of his teachers, Mrs. Ewing. She taught 1st grade. She looked like she was 90 years old, but she knew her 1st graders. She’d even sit on the floor with them. Mary Lou connected what Mrs. Ewing did with classroom best practices, at least what was current in the 70’s. I learned so much from the 2 of them!
Victor Columbine was the Geology professor. He loved rocks, and somehow he helped me pass my geology class. But he was absolutely passionate about world history. I learned more from him during a world history class than from anyone else since, especially about the Soviet Union. The things he said about the USSR and Eastern Europe came true during the 80’s, including the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This is Arps Hall in Columbus, Ohio. It’s the home of the college of education, and it’s where I had most of my classes during my last 2 years of college. I don’t remember names, but I remember two of my teachers. One handled social studies methods. She also worked at Ohio Village. It was in its infancy back then. The other was my language arts teacher. She was from Tennessee. I loved her accent, and the way she taught language arts methods.
My biggest memory is of the teacher who influenced me the most, my dad . . . In the fall of 1981 I was taking 3 classes to get a reading endorsement. This was back in the days when no one needed them. Dad was pushing it as a way to make myself different from all the zillions of elementary ed majors. When I walked into class that week, I discovered I was the youngest and the only one without a college degree. Everyone else was going for their masters or PHD. Me, I was still an undergrad. I was so intimidated, that I did what I always did when in doubt…call dad. He was always honest. He said my classmates had an edge with degrees and work experience, but I had an edge too. I didn’t believe it till he explained. My only job was to be a student. Everyone else in those 3 classes was working. Most had families. Dad was right as usual! I got A’s in all 3 classes. My only B+ that semester was in an undergrad class. Go figure!
I graduated on time in June of 1981, 3 classes shy of my reading endorsement. That endorsement was worth my time and money. My first job was half-time teaching Title I reading at Perry. From there I got my first full-time job teaching Title I at Gomer. I did 3 more years as a reading specialist before getting my dream job teaching 2nd grade. Today I’m sending out a big thank you to all my teachers who pushed me to be more, to have stronger skills. Those teachers may have been a pain, but they made me grow the most. They were, and still are my favorites!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!