Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In retrospect...

Yesterday's post about The G Word created great conversation here on Blogger, over at my Facebook account, and on a mailing list that I read/post to when I find time.  I loved hearing the personal stories -- many of which started with "when I was in school..."  It got me thinking about when I was in school because I was also one of those bored kids where most everything came pretty easily.  I think, in some ways, I was lucky, though, as I was a product of the late 80s where teachers weren't tied to their standardized tests and had some leeway.

I can think of three teachers who had a significant impact on me.  First and foremost, Mr. Ellenberger who took over the music program my Freshman year.  He pushed me out of my shell and started me on the path to where I am today.  That path has had many twists and turns over the years, but if it had not been for Mr. E., I wouldn't be teaching music today.  I have so many happy memories of choir and the competitions that I couldn't even begin to write them down.  My only regret is the pain-in-the-ass that I was to him during those four years.  I'm grateful he put up with my shenanigans and mentored me anyways.

Second, Miss Donlin.  I had her for A/P English and Humanities.  She ran her classes at a college level.  Humanities was the best class for a gifted kid who wanted to learn about everything.  We studied literature, art, architecture, religion, and history.  I've probably forgotten most of what I learned in that class, but at the time, I could not get enough of it.  Miss Donlin kept me busy -- and not in the busy-work kind of way - my Senior year.

My third influence was Mr. Fisher, but not for the same reasons as Mr. E and Miss Donlin.  Mr Fisher taught Trig.  Because of some scheduling error sometime in Middle School, I didn't get on the right math track that would give me Calculus my Senior year.  It's just as well as Mr. Fisher also taught that class.  He was a nice enough man, but, at least for me, he might as well have been teaching the class in Russian because I had No Clue what was going on.  So I taught myself Trig.  I used my textbook and my mom had a friend who would help me out on occasion.  I passed the class with flying colors, but those grades did not come easily to me.   This class taught me to work for it but it also gave me the idea that I wasn't good at math -- an idea that both of my parents perpetuated.

I still struggled when I made it to college.  Suddenly everything was a challenge -- nothing came easily.  At the same time, I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do because everything sounded interesting, but not interesting enough to hold my attention.  I also was fighting against the aforementioned issues with math.  So I worked as hard as I could force myself, got mediocre grades, and fell in with the theater crowd.  (By then, I should have figured out that perhaps switching to a music/theater school might be in order, but I stuck with WPI.)

I never really thought about my schooling, my struggles, why I react to certain things like I do, etc, until The Peanut came along.  Learning about her taught me so much about myself.

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