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Posts Tagged ‘school memories’

I think I have written about my high school years quite a few times. For those that have missed those way past posts, here’s another.

I, like many of us, belong to a Facebook group for people that graduated from my high school in the 1970s. Yeah, I’m an old lady! I joined it about five years ago when it was set up for the purpose of getting together for a multi-year reunion, which finally happened about three years after the group was set up. Well, on Saturday evening, someone posted about the death of one of our former teachers. We had amazing teachers. With very few exceptions, our teachers were not only very well qualified and more than capable. They were excellent teachers and most of them chose to stay in our district and at our school when they had the opportunity to move to affluent areas with fancy new schools. They felt a duty to our population and we, the students, were the beneficiaries of that duty.

This time it was Sal Orlando who was an English teacher. He taught Senior English and, for many years, also taught Journalism. I was not lucky enough to have him as a teachere and I was actually disappointed about that. My siblings had told many stories about the amazing Mr. Orlando. He threw things at people that fell asleep, things like chalk board erasers and chalk. He had a reputation for being really tough on his students but also keeping things light with his jokes and sarcasm. Kids knew he really cared about them as people and as students. I didn’t take Senior English because I had taken four years of Journalism which actually gave me way more English than was required for graduation as each year counted as a year of English plus the three years of English I did take! And he would have been my Journalism teacher except that the year that I first began Journalism as a freshman, we had a new teacher who was also the newspaper advisor for the three years I was on the paper staff. So I didn’t have the privilege of having Sal Orlando as a teacher but we did have many exchanges out of the classroom, most of them teasing each other about why I wasn’t his student or he my teacher.

He was just one of the many revered teachers at that school. I’ve written about Mr. Henry and Mr. Flanagan, and Ms. Paszkeicz. I’ve written about Rudy Del Rio (who was my Journalism teacher and newspaper advisor) and about Mr. McCready.  I’ve written about Mr. Keneally and Mr. Matalone. Those are just a few of the many teachers who were giants to us; legends in their own time. And losing them is a real loss for most of us as many of us are still in touch with at least a few of these teachers. It’s also a reminder that we, their students, are getting old and are at that age where we see the names of so many of our teachers and our fellow students among the dead. Last month it was the death of Mr. Matalon. Today it was Mr. Orlando. I don’t want to know who will be on that list of fallen tomorrow.

I was fortunate to have such amazing teachers. I wish all teachers were like them and that everyone could have that experience.  Everyone should get to know their teachers like I knew mine and everyone should have that feeling that their teachers care about them as students and as people.

They were giants. They were legends.

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It’s 2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I was going over in my head what I plan to do for the first day of the writing class I’m teaching at the charter school. The first day will be next Tuesday and it will be a group of 5th through 7th graders. I was wondering what I should have them call me. It seems like the only thing anyone calls me is Nana but that’s not really appropriate for a class to call me. It crossed my mind that I could joke with them and tell them to call me  Hey You then my mind jumped backward to the time I was in kindergarten. I got dismissed before my siblings but we were all supposed to walk home together so when I got out of class I would sneak into the building where the other classes were but then I got caught and they said I couldn’t wait there so I would then go downstairs in the same building to my sister’s class. She was in first grade. Her teacher, Mrs. Baker, would let me come into the classroom and wait for my sister then when she got out, Mrs. Baker would let us both stay in her room until our older brother got out then we would all walk home together.

I liked Mrs. Baker. She was nice to us and she would let us help her clean the chalk board and  put the chairs up on the tables so the floor could be swept. She told me I should not be shy and that I should call her Mrs. Baker but somehow I couldn’t call her that so I would just say “hey” until I got her attention. She used to laugh and she would say that if I didn’t start calling her Mrs. Baker, she would start calling me Joey. I used to use my middle name at the time. My middle name is Joy. So Mrs. Baker started calling me Joey every time I said “hey” to her. I would tell her “My name is not Joey, it’s Joy.” She would answer, “My name is not Hey, it’s Mrs. Baker.” Eventually, I caught on and called her Mrs. Baker and she called me Joy.

That ancient memory brought a big smile. I had all but forgotten it over the past 50 plus years. I’m glad I remembered it.

The #WeeklySmile is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Trent at Trent’s World The Blog. Go on over and take a look. Share a smile with us!

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Blogging ideas sometimes come out of nowhere. That’s what happened this weekend. I was on Facebook participating in a group for a giveaway for LuLaRoe clothing. The topic was something like “tell a funny school story.” At first I couldn’t think of anything funny then out of the blue comes this memory that cracked me up. I had forgotten all about it but I was glad that my memory was jogged!

I loved school. I always have and always will. I get excited about all kinds of learning; all kinds of schools. I never wanted to miss a day of school. But then one day…

It was in eighth grade. Social Studies class, which was my favorite class. It was right after lunch. I had a cold and had been sniffling and sneezing. I was ready to go into class and do something fun; learn something new and interesting. When we got into class, the teacher, Mrs. Newt, announced that almost everyone in the class had failed the unit test so she was going to give everyone ten minutes to look over their notes and then take the test again. There were only three or four people who had not flunked it. I had gotten an A. So what were we going to do, I wondered. She answered before I could ask. She said those of us who had passed could take it over for a higher grade or we could sit and read or do homework while others took the test. Well, I had gotten 100 per cent. Couldn’t do better than that. I didn’t want to sit and read. I didn’t have homework with me because it was in my locker.

Just then, I sneezed again and as I blew my nose, I noticed that the balled up tissue in my hand was red. My red felt tip marker had bled into the tissue and it looked like blood. The light bulb went on! I can’t believe I did it but with the next sneeze, I wiped my nose, making sure the red marks on the tissue were showing and I kept the tissue at my nose. I raised my hand and when the teacher looked at me, I pointed to the tissue covering my nose. Mrs. Newt said, “Oh! Your nose is bleeding! Here, go to the nurse!” and she handed me a hall pass.

Off I went. The nurse had me lay down on the bed then she called my mom who sent my brother to pick me up. I got to go home. I didn’t intend that but it was okay because the only other class after that was Reading in which the teacher (who I still believe was senile) wanted us to read Les Miserables but the school didn’t have a class set so she had us sit and listen as she read the book aloud to us. So I didn’t mind missing that class.

I had seen that it was fairly easy to get out of class and even to be sent home. It didn’t hurt that I was one of the good kids and was well liked by the teachers and the nurse. I never did anything like that again. I still can’t believe that I pulled that and that it worked!

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The #WeeklySmile is a blog linkup hosted by Trent. Come on over and have a laugh or two!

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