My Most Influential Teacher.

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Neubarth, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. Neubarth
    Offline

    Neubarth At the Ballpark July 30th

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    3,751
    Thanks Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South Pacific
    Ratings:
    +199
    I graduated from Escondido High in 1967 during the height of the Viet Nam conflict. I had lived by myself while working my way through four years of high school. Work for money had a priority over school work for me, and I was not that great of a student. In fact, I don't think I ever turned in a homework assignment all four years that I was at EHS.

    When it came time to graduate, I had a minimum number of units if I passed all of my classes. There was a problem with that, because I had failed Third Quarter English, and had bombed my English final which was supposed to be a big portion of the Fourth Quarter grade. My teacher was Mr. G., a grizzled Marine veteran of World War Two, who sported a Marine haircut and a Marine attitude towards getting things done.

    He knew me a little bit better than the average student as he had given me a ride "home" several times after wrestling practice. His son was on the wrestling team and might remember the many car rides that his father gave me. I believe that Mr. G knew that I was living by myself, but never said a word. Mr. G had come from an era when a lot of young people had started out on their own in their early teens.

    Back in my high school years we had to carry our report cards from class to class to have the teachers mark them. We would turn them in at the beginning of class and the class teacher would enter the grade and return them to us as we left the room to go to the next class. We would take the report cards home, have our parents sign them and return them to school the next day to be used again for the next reporting period.

    Well, I turned in my report card to Mr. G who was sitting at his desk. He had a serious and somber look on his face when he looked up and saw me. I mentioned to him that I was graduating on a bare minimum number of credits. I had already signed up for active duty in the Navy and needed the credits from his class in order to to graduate. No graduation, meant no Navy and no boot-camp in a few weeks. He took the report card and didn't say a word. I was justifiably nervous and scared.

    At the end of class those report cards were returned to us and we left the room to progress down the halls to our next grade posting. I slowly looked at my card. There it was! "F" for Third Quarter. "F" for Fourth Quarter. Mr. G was fair. Those were the grades that I had earned. But there for the Semester Grade (and five units towards graduation) was a "D" minus for Semester Average. I graduated! Only an ex-Marine could average an "F" and another "F" into a "D" minus when there was substantial need.

    Mr. G was strict. He was demanding, but he also had a heart of gold. I speak about him often. He made a very strong impression in my life.


    Post script:

    Not only did he have a kind heart, but his efforts were productive. I entered the Navy and took a battery of tests. From those results they decided that I was intelligent and offered me the opportunity to go through Nuclear Power School to become an operator. I did that, gained some self assurance and started college after my tour was up. I maintained a very respectable grade point average through college and went back into the Navy as a nuclear weapons officer for a few years and then went to work for Pacific Bell as a data communications manager. I retired at age fifty four in January 2001.

    Thanks to Mr. G, I got my life straight.
     
  2. Annie
    Offline

    Annie Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    50,847
    Thanks Received:
    4,644
    Trophy Points:
    1,790
    Ratings:
    +4,770
    What a great story! You should be grateful for having a teacher that had faith in you. You should also be very proud of what you accomplished, first being on your own and graduating, then making the most of it!

    May I suggest sending this to Mr. G or his son if Mr. G has passed on? I've been fortunate to receive several letters and two published letters to the editors from former students. I can't tell you what those mean to me. This past 'Sweetest Day" I received a half dozen giant yellow roses from a former student, delivered to my school with the card, "Happy Sweetest Day For the Sweetest Teacher Ever! Ricky"

    The reason perhaps to send it to family, like other 'service providers' teachers often spend many hours working from home, at the cost of family to some extent. It's darn near impossible for me to find time for evening activities beyond school during the week.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!
     
  3. Neubarth
    Offline

    Neubarth At the Ballpark July 30th

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    3,751
    Thanks Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South Pacific
    Ratings:
    +199
    And a Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

    The story as written above was emailed to his daughter, a college professor in San Diego. She published it on a site dedicated to her father who had passed on quite a few years ago.

    I am absolutely certain that her father looks down from heaven every once in a while and checks in on me. He fully knows that he made it possible for me to get a good start after my difficult four years of high school. I have tried to carry the good that he did forward to successive generations.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

letter to influential teacher

,
letter to the most influential teacher