A Few of My Favorite Things…err, Teachers, that is

Today, Heidelberg High School Lions are mourning the loss of one of our beloved teachers, Mrs. Wanda McCollar.  Not only did she teach us writing and visual arts, but she had a way of wrapping lessons on life up into what she taught, as well.  She was funny and charming and had a way of drawing even the shy folks out of their shells for one period of the day.  She was the first teacher to get my interested in poetry.  I remember analyzing The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.  I remember having to write a one hundred word sentence that wasn’t a run on.  And I remember the stories she’d tell us.  She was a nut.  And we loved her.  Thankfully, through Facebook, lots of Lions were able to friend her and enjoy her humor and friendship as adults.  She will be missed.

As I thought about Mrs. McCollar today, I also started thinking about the vast number of teachers I’ve had over the years and how many really stand out…and while there were some things I liked about a lot more of the teachers or some of the things I did in their classes that were memorable, the only ones who really stand out positively for me, other than Mrs. McCollar, are:

“Your head is hard, it is difficult.”  – Mr. Moore, HHS – My eleventh grade honors English teacher.  He was a trip.  I learned more about speaking correctly in his class because that seemed to be what we did the most…talk.  He’d come in and we’d talk and he’d call us names or make little insults in ways that made us remember the corrections he made to our speech.

“Hazlo!” – Senor Pappas – My fourth year Spanish teacher, HHS.  He had a way of teaching class that made it seem like we weren’t really working although I know we worked the whole period.  One of his favorite things to do was, when going over command forms, to open his door and then make sure the German teacher, Mr. Berg, had his door open.  “Hazlo!” sounds quite a bit like the German word for a-hole…especially when heard from across the hall.

Mr. “Slam” Graham – Lawrence North High School, Indiana – I can’t freehand draw a thing, but give me a drafting table and some Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits, and I can whip out your drawing in no time.  Mr. Graham looked more like he belonged on a construction site than in the classroom, but he had an engaging personality and cool, approachable manner that made asking questions easy.  But don’t let his college sports jock manner fool you, he knew his subject and always got the line weight perfect the first time when drawing.

I’m sure that many of the other teachers I had were great and that they reached other students, but for some reason they just didn’t make a strong impression on me…positively, at least, and this post isn’t about the ones I didn’t like.

I’m going to close with a quote by Stephen King, which comes from the pages of “Lisey’s Story“:

“You want to be good for the ones you love, because you know that your time with them will end up being too short, no matter how long it is.”

If you have/have had a great teacher, let them know what an impression they had on your life before they are gone.  R.I.P., Mrs. McCollar.


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