Memories of a Wonderful Teacher

Life Story Club Contributor

September 21, 2020

I think this is junior high school, so we’re going back many years considering my age. And he was an older man. At least I guess I wouldn’t consider him to be an older man now, but back then I did. And he was very good, but people took advantage of him because he was just a nice, older man and they would talk and they would do things that they shouldn’t be doing and he wouldn’t really say anything. But he was a very good teacher you know, pedagogically speaking. And one time we were in the hallway and everyone was making noise, which was typical of them, and the assistant principal came out of his office and instead of yelling at the kids he said to the teacher, “Go to my office,” because he wasn’t doing his job and people were talking and yelling.

And we were all aghast because … he was first of all very good, pedagogically speaking, he was a very good teacher and we all felt terribly guilty. Like, “My God we’re going to cost this man his job.” And I remember some of us went to the assistant principal and said, “No, please. You know he’s a good teacher and it’s our fault.”

So it’s just something I remember, just someone who is wonderful … he’s kind of like a grandfather figure and a wonderful teacher. But back then, and maybe it’s not so different now, people tend to take advantage of situations. I would like to think I didn’t. I don’t think I did. It’s a long time ago. But you know, because he was so nice and so easy going and didn’t complain, I think a lot of people were acting up when they shouldn’t have been. But it’s something I never forgot. And when we thought he was in trouble and might lose his job, we all gathered together and made sure to go to the assistant principal and tell him how great he was. So it was just something I remember from way back when.

Back then I think everyone felt guilty. “My God, this man’s going to lose his job.” And again, he was an older gentleman, and he was just a nice and good teacher. And so there was some goodness in us in that we did try and he didn’t lose his job, but it’s something I still remember from some many years ago.

I remember he taught science. And he was a good teacher, but he didn’t have control over the kids because kids knew that they could take advantage and unfortunately, that’s what happened, and so maybe the learning wasn’t even quite as good as it could have been if everyone would have paid attention. But that one incident with the nasty assistant principal saying in front of the kids in his class to say to the teacher, “Go to my office.” Not the kids, but the teacher. It was very traumatic, something I never forgot and I thought was terrible. The assistant principal never should have done that in front of all the kids. If he wanted to talk to the teacher about something from his class, it should have been done privately and not embarrassing him in front of everyone. But the fact of the matter is I believe, and again, I’m talking about many years ago, I think he started to walk towards the assistant principal’s office and then said, “No I’m not going,” I believe. But it stuck in my mind all these, many, many, many, many years. So I hope today teachers are somewhat a little more respected and hopefully kids pay more attention, but I’m not sure if that’s the case or not.

Back when the principal humiliated the teacher, I think part of the reason we did not go along with that was because he was such a good teacher. But also, he needed to have the people to help defend him, because I don’t think he’d defend himself. So maybe it would have been different, because I think another teacher might have said, “No, I’m not doing this. What are you talking about?” He wasn’t like that. So, it’s a memory about a wonderful teacher, who maybe wasn’t treated as well as he could have been treated. But was a wonderful man and a wonderful teacher and maybe as we got older, we appreciated him even more and more as we got older.

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