High School Confidential

Cover of "Gone with the Wind"After my earlier article about school, I was reminded of some more teachers I had not mentioned. I wanted to write about my experiences with some of them as they were, obviously, pretty memorable.

In my Freshman year of high school, Mrs. Armstrong taught ninth grade English and the one thing I remember about her is that she said her mind “worked faster than her fingers could type.” I didn’t quite know what she meant then, but I do now when I am typing along on the computer and I forget a word.

My Sophomore year, Mrs. Abbott was my English teacher and I read Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind for a book report. Poor Mrs. Abbott was also my homeroom teacher and we stayed in the same homeroom for all four years. She was stuck with the “H”s which included my two best friends Mary and Emma for four long years.

Junior year I took Chemistry. The Chemistry instructor, Mr. Kemp, insisted that we memorize some table about electrons. We had to take a test and if we didn’t pass, we were required to stay after school and take it every night until we did. I stayed after school several evenings and finally, on a Friday, Mr. Kemp walked out of the room leaving all the poor souls who hadn’t previously passed the quiz alone. Of course, each of us opened our books and copied the correct answers.

At the end of the year, we each were given an unknown substance and we had to discover what it was. Mr. Kemp seemed absolutely shocked when I found out what mine was. I guess he didn’t realize I was picking up some of the chemistry he was teaching.

Mr. Wade Davis was my English teacher during my Junior year. He said lots of funny things, but I most remember that when we read “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” he said:

None of you can understand this now; but you will someday.

I think I remembered that because I was determined to see if the Ode made more sense later in life, which it did.

You may have noticed that my English teachers made quite an impression on me. Well, even back then, I was considering following in their footsteps and becoming one of them. However, my guidance counselor Mr. Geer had other ideas. He used to say to me:

Become an elementary teacher. The students love you. Look around…do you see students who love me? My students don’t love me!

His regret over his career choice was unfortunate, and rather sad, but it didn’t keep me from pursuing my dream.

All of my teachers added something to my life. At Johns Hill Junior High, I not only learned to diagram a sentence, but I learned how to make “Golden Light Cupcakes.” I still have the recipe written in my eleven year old scrawl on a yellowed recipe card.

Teachers, you are amazing and you do make a difference every day.

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