Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I learned as a Teacher

Teaching is in my blood. My father was a University Professor of History; I have always been surrounded with books. Bookcases were art and we had them everywhere, leaving little room for pictures hanging on a wall. I think I knew from the beginning that I would be a teacher.

To really understand this you need to know that I really hated school. I felt confined, restless and had so little in common with the other students. At seventeen, while supposed to be reading Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" I dropped out of High School and began my world adventures, traveling across Canada on a train to Montreal and then, finding my ship, I sailed away on the SS Ryndam to Rotterdam, Holland. I aimlessly traversed Europe with no place to be and no time to be there.

I did return about six months later and went on to college, but dropped out of there too at least three times before finishing my degree and getting a teaching certificate.

In teaching I learned to make lesson plans, set goals, and crowd control!!! You have to be a little bit of Bob Hope and a little like Hulk Hogan to be a good teacher. Why should they listen to you anyway? My goal was always to teach, I wanted the kids to learn. I always passed out the "Final" test on the first day, the actual real questions they would be asked three months later.

No trickery to my teaching, this was it, the end game. I never asked questions with a specific correct answer, always telling the students that that could be looked up in the library, and now

of course, on the net! I was after reasoning and support of arguments, taking a stance and defending it, and the skill of writing whole paragraphs on one subject. I was after intellectual growth and I mostly got it. I think to this day that you get out what you want of life, set a goal

and make a plan and it will happen.

My teaching career was short lived, we have had earlier recessions, so with three years experience I was laid off with 35 other teachers and had to find a job. I could have moved, maybe should have. Texas was hiring teachers and Los Angelas, but I had just bought a house, a "fixer-upper" and had planted a garden! I have been in all 50 States, went to Europe several times and now I was a "homebody"! I liked where I was and needed to find out how to stay there. I needed a job!

I will backtrack tomorrow and tell you how I met my wife!!!


  1. Stonepost: You must have been a really good teacher. I've taught Adult Basic Education to adults, and my approach was much the same. Its about the outcome - it doesn't matter how the students get there. They can give any answer as long as they have a good justification for it. I like to think they found it stimulating. Its very advanced of you to have taken on 'Outcomes based ' education on children all those years ago when education was about giving the answer the teacher wanted in the way that the teacher wanted it, by rote, parrot fashion. Your drifting days must have been fun, though. I was too driven - at sixteen persuing money to put myself through uni. Working and studying (both full time!). I wrote today that I mean to have some goals (something you also mention here). Travel would definitely be one! Oh! And I like the picture. Is it your house?

  2. Andrea, thank you so much! Those teaching days were fun and I like to think I opened doors and expanded horizons. The photo is the bridge to my shop. It crosses a ditch on my property with my house one one side, the shop and gardens on the other.