Dedicated to Mr. B

24 Aug

This is in response to a comment I made in regards to today’s blog post at Lessons from Teachers and Twits.

I wrote that I had a teacher who pushed me to do my best, and challenged me to go above and beyond.  I also wrote that I had an awesome teacher who let me cheat on my final in freshman English.  I was asked to provide some details, so here they are:

My freshman year of high school I had quite possibly the best English teacher I’ve ever had.  Mr. B wasn’t a great teacher, inspiring me to write, to read, or to actually learn the material.  He was a good teacher.  He was a great drama teacher, a great director of plays, and an all around great guy.  I read some awesome books in his class, and did learn quite a bit, mostly about life rather than about English.  Sure we had to read a bunch, write papers, etc.  I think that’s the basic requirement of English class.  We also had vocabulary tests.  He would give us a list of words from some stupid vocab book and require us to learn each definition and how to use the words in a sentence.  Now, my vocabulary was pretty darn good, but HAVING to learn vocabulary words is BOOOOOOORING!  I hated that part of class.  Let me read a book of my choosing and write a paper on it, I can do all day long.  Make me actually have to learn new words?  Fugetaboutit.

So let’s skip forward to the final.  It’s one of the last days of school and I’m about to head off to camp to work for the summer.  I have visions of white water rafting, waterskiing, boating, etc in my head, not some stupid English test.  Our final consisted of 50 vocabulary words which we had to define and use in a sentence and a couple of essay questions.  What. A. Bore.  At the beginning of the test he asked that we all pass our vocab books up to the front of the class where he would collect them.  My best friend (who of course I sat next to) kept his.  I don’t know why, I don’t think he needed to cheat on this stupid test.  As I recall, he had great grades in English (compared to my solid B-).  I saw the book sitting there between the two of us and grabbed it.  I lift it up, show it to Mr. B, and proceed to open it and copy word-for-word each and every definition / sentence for each word on our final.  He looks up when I show him the book, shrugs, and goes back to doing whatever it is that English teachers do when a test is going on.  As I finish, I pass the book to my bud who does the exact same thing as I did.

Years later, when I was a tutor for an alternative education classroom, Mr. B was teaching English.  I sat in our office with the teacher grading math or something like that when Mr. B walks in and shuts the door.  We’re all looking out at our students, some of whom are cheating.  “Look at that!”  Mr. B exclaims.  “Those kids are blatantly cheating!  Eric, did you ever cheat in high school?”  “Yeah.  In your class for the final and in Biology.”  “WHAT!  What do you mean?”  So I refresh his memory about how I had cheated on the vocab portion of the final.  “Oh.  Yeah…  I guess I just didn’t care about what the two of you did.”

Here’s to you Mr. B.  For not caring what I did, and allowing me to pass your final with flying colors.  Any bets on how long before my mom calls to yell at me for something that happened 16 years ago?

2 Responses to “Dedicated to Mr. B”

  1. Meet the Buttrams August 25, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Okay this is fantastic. Mr. B sounds like every student’s dream teacher. And I also love that your mom will call you on it. 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

    • e. rumsey August 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

      Oh she did… 3.5 hours after this post went live… I think she’s losing her touch. Usually she picks up on my crap in no time at all.

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