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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Teachers (07/12/04)

TITLE: The Marks They Leave
By Glenn A. Hascall


She was the Annie Oakley of education. There was no guff taken within her classroom walls and if she was on recess duty we were the most orderly students on the planet. When she sneezed she rattled windows three floors below. When a wasp landed on her during a school outing she refused to pay it any attention and it eventually left broken and humiliated at its inability to intimidate. She once came to school in a dress with cowboy boots. Sometimes I like to imagine that she chewed tobacco in her off hours. She was Mrs. Johns, a demander of respect and a receiver of the same.

He was the aggressive Lurch of Algebra. There was very little teaching of math in his classroom. When he became frustrated he threw chalk board erasers at offending students. You could always tell who made him mad by the white rectangle on the heads of students who just couldn’t get out of the way in time. He was over six and a half feet tall and was a basketball coach. I was only able to guess well enough to get a 32 on any of my tests and he passed me calling it “a gift” (the class genius mustered a 45). He was Mr. Lucky, a man who hated algebra and had no choice but to take roll and occupy the time till basketball practice.

She was a petite, grandmotherly version of Anne of Green Gables. She weaved fanciful tales of far off places and instilled a love for the English language in her students. She loved the theater and encouraged my involvement. I succumbed to the pressure and tried out for a part only to refuse when it was offered. I think she wondered if I just didn’t like her, for when she retired from the drama department I tried out again and got the next leading role. If you’re reading Mrs. Parker, nothing personal. Promise.

He played Nero, caring very little for Christians. When I stood to give my first speech in his class he waited patiently, then ridiculed me publicly for expressing a personal faith in Christ. Classmates found great humor in his passionate diatribe. I earned my fifteen minutes of unwanted fame in that class. In the end, student and teacher forged a grudging respect and I passed his class with high marks. He was Mr. Adams who cared more for personal relationships than he let on.

She is the Annie Sullivan of her classroom, dispensing justice and grace in appropriate measure. She loves to play games and the students aren’t sure if they’re having fun or learning. Only she knows for sure but year-end tests prove a method to her madness. She is hugged by her students as she walks through stores. Past students revisit her classroom and tell her that among all teachers she remains their all-time favorite. She may seem harsh at first, yet she brings the classroom into a system of organization and inspiration. She is my wife, Mrs. Hascall, and she has my complete admiration.

In our own unique educational tapestry there are those that have made us better than we were before we entered their classroom and there are those that seemed to be more of a personal challenge. Classrooms where caring is felt are a treasure to preserve, but there are classrooms where you will learn more than a subject - you will learn about interpersonal relationships and dealing with difficult circumstances. Those instructors we loved or loathed leave an indelible mark on our lives and we often believe what they say to us. Some will raise the bar of expectation and we will rise to the occasion while others will refuse to believe in us and we may br inclined to suspend belief in ourselves for a time.

They may not seem capable of wielding such power, in fact they are often insecure and unsure about their ability to take impressionable students and ferret out those ah-ha moments - those moments when breakthrough learning takes place. Still, they plan and prepare and they bring their own personality to the classroom.

Marks are being left - on paper - on lives - on hearts.

Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Elder-Criss07/19/04
I, too had a teacher who loved to throw erasers..but she certainly wasn't lovable..Your gentle humor and wit brought all of your teachers to life for me. I had a couple of teachers who left marks (other than eraser ones) as well. Great closing line. Blessings~Mary
Marcell Billinghurst07/19/04
A very descriptive story filled with memories of your teachers and the effect they had on you. Well written. Keep up the good work.
Kenny Paul Clarkson07/19/04
Your article reminds me that teachers are people. Some good; some bad.

Thanks for the fine submission.

dub W07/20/04
Great discription, wonderful story.

Gerry Alderink07/21/04
Tremendous descriptive writing, beautifully woven with humor, although most of the students would most probably have wondered how you could discover any humor in the situation! May future writing opportunities help others find humor in their worst disasters.
L.M. Lee07/21/04
thanks for taking us down a walk through the classrooms...love the closing.
Joanne Malley07/22/04
So nicely written, all the way to the great closing line. :)
Phyllis Inniss07/24/04
Beautifully written. I'm glad I read this.
Karen Treharne07/24/04
I like your style of writing, Glenn, and enjoyed that you chose to include your wife in the story. You're lucky to have the memories of so many fine teachers to draw from. Well done and worthy of my time to read it.
Nancy Hingle07/25/04
Your writing style is unique. It's that style that will captivate it's readers. God's favor as you continue.