In just less than 2 hours, I’ll teach my first class of the 2011-2012 school year. Which means that summer’s over. (Yes, I realize that it may not be for you personally—I know some places have been in school for the last couple weeks, while the Chicago Public Schools don’t start for another two weeks. And many of you have graduated, anyway. But go with me here.)
Because of the impending classes, I’ve been thinking recently about memorable classes and teachers I’ve had. And one moment keeps sticking out in my mind: 11th grade English. We had just finished Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. In retrospect [SPOILER ALERT, btw: if you haven't read The Scarlet Letter, don't read any further until you have], my teacher looked a little pale. I’m not sure, though, if any of us noticed it. Then, all of a sudden, he ripped open his shirt and we saw a red “A” on his chest.
Substantively, I don’t know what his performance added to my understanding of the novel. I got what had happened, I got the symbolism. But his willingness to go all out means that it stuck with me. Even now, almost 20 years later, I remember that moment in that class with a clarity that’s not present for most of high school.
So how about you? Any memorable classes or teachers you’d like to share?[fn1]
[fn1] Yeah, I’m not sure what the Mormon connection is, either. Maybe it’s that we’ll probably all teach something at some point, so recalling great moments in teaching can inspire us to prepare better lessons. But that’s probably a stretch. So let’s just call it slices of Mormon life (even if the teachers we recall—like my 11th grade English teacher—aren’t Mormon). That said, I promise Part 2 will have a Mormon connection.