Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Teachers (07/12/04)
TITLE: The Marks They Leave
By Glenn A. Hascall
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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.