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Weirding people out since 2006.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

On Teachers: Part Four

Then there are the last two teachers whose classes I would never skip (well, maybe twice, but that was when I was ditching an entire day instead of a class or two).

Mr. Youngerman was, in many ways, the exact opposite of Mr. Collins. Where Mr. Collins was laid back, Mr. Y (as we kids called him) was energetic. Where Mr. Collins was just a danged good teacher, Mr. Y was brilliant.

Mr. Youngerman could turn a story-world inside out and upside down. He could take the bizarre and make it seem plausible. He taught me how to make a series of flashbacks just melt into the storyline and when to toss them out the door. He didn't just tell about stories, he showed them through actions in his class. Change of scene? Turn off the lights for apparently no reason to demonstrate how one simple thing can change the entire mood of a story. He threw chalkboard erasers up against the wall to demonstrate action and dragged a chair across the room to demonstrate sensory involvement. He'd get in your face and shout to explain POV and tone.

There was nothing to bizarre, to out there or too unreal for Mr. Youngerman. He reminded me of why I started writing in the first place, because it was fun. And, oh yeah, he was tough too. He, like Mr. Collins, wouldn't put up with my second best and just when I thought it was my best, he'd show me how to make it even better.

Mr. Smith taught math, specifically geometry. He had a way of explaining this, my last year of math, as if it were vital and real through, of all things, basketball. Which is odd, considering my love-hate thing with basketball.

Playing one on one games like horse or around the world was fine as long as it was just me and a friend or few, but as a PE class? Basketball was a nightmare filled with rules and (eek!) more of the type of physical activity than this body was made for.

Mr. Smith though, brought these two together with a seeming effortlessness that whenever I think of parallel lines I still see two Nerf basketballs flying across the room, and if I ever need to calculate an angle? I won't be able to do so without thinking of the hypoteneuse of the backboard.

For some odd reason, I can still remember the terms "postulate," "hypothesis" and "theorem" even though, almost 20 years later I really can't remember having used them.

So here's to every teacher who went above and beyond. I thank you, for each and every one of you made at least those classes, enjoyable for the times that I had with you.


Cindy L. said...

*clapping for the teachers* You're lucky to have had so MANY good teachers...I had a grand total of two positive-memorable teachers: Mrs. Smith in fourth grade, and Mrs. Deay in 10th.

Brigitta M. said...

Whoa! I knew I was lucky, but I didn't think I was that lucky. Especially since I didn't include a bunch of "also-rans" like Mr. Gekas (my junior/senior year drama teacher) and an excellent substitute by the name of Mr. Melville (who, ironically, was shorter than my kid sister-- at the time that is, she was in 4th/5th grade. Now she towers over most women that I know.). I wonder though, if I just liked Mr. Melville 'cause he would tell me what vile things my brother had done that day. LOL

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