Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lists of Jean: Favorite Teachers

Well, as promised, I chose a random page from Listography, the book and the list I am doing today is Favorite Teachers.  

Before I start, you should know that I LOVE TEACHERS. When I was six, I decided I wanted to be a teacher and that never really faded until I was in college and had NO IDEA how to get where I wanted to go. 

Jean's Favorite Teachers (in chronological order):

1. Mrs. Rogo - Kindergarten teacher in Aurora, Colorado at Crawford Elementary school. I still have a little piece of art she made for me and it has her writing on the back.  It was a yellow piece of some kind of plaster with Raggedy Ann and Andy on it.  Once, when it snowed, all the dads dug a tunnel through the snowbank (the Kindergarten rooms had doors that led outside to the playground and a little tin-like roof. The snow drifted over and blocked the doors) and when we got there, she made us toast and hot chocolate. She had a great play area with TVs that had their innards removed, so we could get in and pretend we were on TV.

2. Miss (?) Ballantine - Second Grade Teacher in Crestview schools in the basement of one of the apartment stairwells on the base in Wiesbaden, Germany.  She had red hair and some kind of issue with one of her hands. I thought she was BEAUTIFUL and she read some of the best stories ever to us. I remember sometimes eating lunch outside and I remember that she was very kind and patient.  I remember that we had a foyer where we hung our coats in her class. It was the maid's quarters from back in the day.

3. Mrs. Gobel - 3rd Grade Teacher in Crestview Schools in the basement of one of the apartment stairwells on the base in Wiesbaden, Germany.  I adored Mrs. Gobel and for some reason, she adored me. She invited me to go to church with her and her family and I went to one of her husband's picnics with his unit (he was in the Air Force, too).  She read books like "The BoxCar Children", "James and the Giant Peach", "Charlotte's Web" and "The Trumpet of the Swan". She was tall and she had that 1970s long hair parted in the middle. She had a little keyboard in class and in the morning, we would sing patriotic songs (in Miss Ballantine's class, too).  I used to finish my work first, so she would have me help a boy named Ricky.  He was developmentally delayed in some way and I used to give him spelling tests. I took my work seriously.  She was surprised that I struggled to learn my multiplication took me a long time to fill the chart with stars.

4. Mrs. Eckhart - fourth grade teacher at Lindsay II Elementary School.  We had to go to a different base to go to school once we finished third grade. Mrs. Eckhart was smart and funny and supportive of my needs as a learner. I always finished my work quickly and she would send me down to the library where I would pour over the encyclopedia looking for people in history that we were studying. I would meticulously copy the information from the encyclopedia (in my horrible handwriting - wow did I struggle with that...). I specifically remember writing about the presidents, Lincoln, Washington. I remember writing about Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well. When her husband got his orders to leave Wiesbaden, she only had a few weeks to give notice.  She gave us each a chance to pick one book from her bookshelf and I chose "The Story of Juliet Lowe" who was the founder of the Girl Scouts. I still have that book. I remember weeping on her last day.  We had to carry our old wooden desks down the hall and downstairs in this ancient school building and join the class that was in Mrs. Mott's room. 

5.  Ms. Grimala - Ms. Grimala was a HUGE influence on me in junior high school. She was the librarian and facilitated me watching "West Side Story" for the first time. She created "The Book Club" and I met a bunch of friends there. She indulged my reading habits and gave me "preview" books to read when I ran out of books that interested me in the library.  I was new to the area when I started junior high and I think she knew that I was a fish out of water.  I used to take care of the plants in the library, too. At one point, I brought some home over the holidays and eventually fell in love with a giant Boston Fern I named George.  I am eternally grateful for her friendship and guidance in those formative years of my life.

6. Mr. Reierson(sp) and Mr. Wright - these two gentlemen were a BRILLIANT history team. I had Mr. Reierson for U.S. History and Culture. They lectured on history, but made if fascinating. More than that, they played the covered wagon game and had everyone take different roles in the wagon trains coming to Oregon on the Oregon Trail.  About half the characters died before the end.  We played a stock market game to illustrate what happened in the Great Depression. They took history seriously and they loved it and they didn't pull any punches. I remember their lectures on WWII and the Nazi atrocities and it so resonated with me after living in Germany and having my dad so affected by his friend's experience in Auschwitz.

7. Mr. Stoppa (even though I didn't like science...) He was fun and funny and cute as all get out.

8.  Mr. Borgen (?) - He was my English teacher in the eigth grade and was the one who recommended me for Journalism.  That singular act changed my life in the years to come - it allowed me to focus on writing more and I met all the drama folks because I was in Journalism.

9. Mrs. Herron - She was our English and Social Studies teacher in seventh grade. She was strict, but also an old softie. She was one of those people who was meant to teach junior high kids. On Fridays, she would have us line up and give her a hug before we left for the weekend. EVERYONE did it. There was no arguing. I loved her.

10.  Nancy Zettergren - my journalism and newspaper instructor all through high school. My staunchest supporter. Read all my poetry. Treated me like a person not a kid. First person I ever met who had worse migraines than I did. (See December 2008 posts for more about Nancy)

11.. Bob Mullin - my creative writing instructor. He passed away. It was quite sad. He started me off in my exploration of writing as art, not just an academic endeavor.

12. Carol Coburn - The head of the Aloha High School Drama Department. She has also passed away. She was brilliant, a visionary. She was meant to empower high school students. She expected only the best from all of us and she got it. Who else could make me spend every Saturday of my high school career at SCHOOL?!? (See December 2008 posts for more information about Carol Coburn)

13. All my instructors in the PCC Interpreter Training Program - If not for them, I can't even imagine what I would be doing with my life now.  Since these folks are in my life still (for the most part), I'm not naming names. But WOW. Amazing women, all. Their generous support and guidance has meant the world to me.

I have been EXTREMELY lucky in the teachers I have had.  There are many more, but these folks left a huge impression on me. My life would not be the same if not for them and I appreciate them so much. I hope someday that I can reciprocate in some way to the community, to other students - whether they are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, or in K-12 or interpreting students or participants in a workshop.  Teachers are heroes, in my humble opinion. 

1 comment:

  1. Uhmmm.... okay, that's really freakin' scary to do my own mental meanderings and then read this!!


    Great minds think alike.



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