Dr. M. – Civilizations: This was the only instructor to possess such a daft style of levity that he could actually use racial slurs in class and get away with it, making people laugh in the process. He never assigned homework, and the class was more like a comedy routine. I’d heard of stories where teachers project their political agendas onto their students, and this was the first time I’d seen the case in action, where he implored more than once for students to vote for his candidate of choice. Despite such strange details (to me anyways), he loaned me books from his office and he sometimes told fairly scary, somewhat heart-moving stories about his life in Africa.
Memory of note: When allowed to freely write on the chalkboard about heroism, several students wrote how much disdain they held for people in the military. Ironically, Air Force recruiters arrived to lecture in class not a few weeks later.
Mr. S. – Cultural Anthropology: After having gotten used to such fantastic lecturing, Mr. S drove me a little insane with a monotone lecture style–two hours every single day. I felt so bad for being grouchy about him because in truth, the man was a super-cool individual and extremely nice to talk to after class. He was an official member of an Indian Tribe in Arizona, and he often made comments about how his kids only called when they needed money.
Academic Memory: The Arrow Renewal ceremony in Cheyenne culture is serious business.
Mrs. L. – Italian: A native Italian, she intimidated students by demanding that they speak Italian asap. People grew nervous when she went around the room inquiring, and I was no exception. Sometimes she held her hand when she spoke with her thumb touching her middle finger, waving it around speaking in Italian, a motion indicative of her frustration. She made the class easy at test time, providing one studied, to which I studied my Italian-ignorant brain off. I had her for a year, and I couldn’t believe she actually expressed a possible attachment at my departure: I was always giving her a hard time having fun with her.
Academic Memory: “Quando a Roma vai, fa come vedrai!”
Mr. S. – English: Here’s where I got the deal on English, as relayed by a professional speaker and teacher in the game. Here’s where I also learned how much my having more experience than others in the class can be annoying as I tended to blurt out all the answers. I’ve since desisted in this habit as I realized all too well how it affects others, but the behavior only emerged from out of a teaching style that was well planned, interactive, and coherently spoken by a man who loves his job. One can never forget him, especially if they keep the essays from his classes because he always returned them with amoeba shaped coffee stains spotted around the edges.
Memory of note: Henry David Thoreau has a passage somewhere in his work that describes how sometimes he would barbecue rats for dinner.
Mr. M. – Astronomy: The Hell-Spawn. The Ultimate in Iniquitous Deities. The Devil in the Flesh himself and My Nemesis. Ugh. Mr. M. was the only teacher during my entire endeavor at this school to give me a B. My 4.0 was ruined and I was heart-broken (a.k.a. pissed off). He was so friendly and smiled at me the last day of class as we discussed the eventual dissipation of the universe, but little did I know he was smiling at me the smile of a hangman’s grin.
Academic note of interest: The Earth is slanted on its axis, thus the orbit around the Sun in this fashion produces the seasons we experience; and Astrology is not a science.
Mr. M – English: Another of the monotone speakers, students sat in his class frozen, nearly petrified by this man. This is the singular time in my life where I’ve seen people over the age of twelve exit the room single file in sheer silence at the end of class. He never allowed anyone to do anything, and he read British poetry with a low, robotic drone that I had to struggle to stay awake every class. To the contrary, he was often witty, he never once assigned homework, and he genuinely loved his literature.
Academic Memory: Lord Byron was “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” This class is also where I learned that girls who avidly love Jane Austen and her stories are called “Janites.”
Mr. W. – Theater Appreciation: A spasmodic, lunatic of a man, his disposition did not differ much from the likes of an excited toddler. Wise in his knowledge, his presentation was often boisterous, even downright frightening at times. His views were supra-liberal, an aspect that oddly contrasted his marriage to a woman in law enforcement, and he propagandized perpetually, a fact that may have contributed to his mysterious disappearance from the college faculty. The classroom was always filled with laughter and we all loved him very much; he was passionate about his acting/directing, as clearly this was his life’s work.
Academic memory note: Surrealism and Expressionism must be distinguished as closely related but completely separate styles of theater.
Ms. H. – Psych: Echoing reminders of my algebra teacher, Ms. H. is the only teacher I’ve ever had that actually did make us do a work out before class began. Every time, she would make the class stand up, stretch, loosen up, move around, and following this activity, she would have us perform EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), a form of therapy where one taps on specific stimulation spots around the skull and body. She had a fantastic way of interacting with the class, and she wasn’t afraid to admit she was attracted to the bad boys when she was younger.
Academic memory: Psychiatric illnesses are often gene-oriented with neurological imbalances/implications involved; personality disorders are learned and can be unlearned.
So goes my list that goes to show two things: I haven’t learned a single darned skill, but I know a lot about a bunch of meaningless stuff, with the exception of the interactive experience in the academic world. The money will have been worth it when I get degreed at university, and will hopefully have all been worth it if I, someday, succeed at finding a place I can call home.