I think I have insinuated briefly that my best teachers were those I had prior to the 9th grade. High school was more a blur of larger classes where teachers rarely interacted with individual students. I did not enjoy high school. There were too many people trying to “be” too many things.
It was my junior year. I had a year of high school under my belt. I had finished Latin the previous year. Hooray! I had geometry, American history, some English course (you can see I was excited there!), typing (on a “Selectric” typewriter), government and chemistry. Frankly, chemistry sounded interesting. I suppose I had some romantic visions of a mad scientist mixing up potions that would let me escape from high school. Boy was I off base!
The first day I was able to find my classroom in the mere 5 minutes that I had between classes. It was a room I had never entered. I guess that today you would call it an auditorium classroom. The front had the usual blackboards. Then there was a large island with a sink where the teacher could perform experiments for the students to observe. The remainder of the room was composed of platforms that continued to set-up about 12 inches. So the front row was closer to the floor than say the fifth platform. Anyway-everyone could see just fine! My schedule card had no teacher listed.
The students began to gather in the room and find a seat. The bell rang. No teacher. I began to look around and noticed that there were several girls that I knew from the Beta Club. But I really didn’t know any of the guys at all. None of them. None. Hmmmm…..
Then into the room marched the teacher. I didn’t know him either but he could be new. Then he started to talk. Guess what. He was the head football coach. I am not sure I had gone to a single game so I didn’t know him. The guys in the room were members of the football team. The tackles. The linebackers. The “big” ones. Although there was not a”no pass, no play” rule, I began to feel nervous. This was not going to be a regular chemistry class.
The coach divided us into groups. Several football players and one girl from the Beta Club was the basic organizational plan. We sat together. We worked on every assignment together. Of course, that is not exactly true. The girl worked on every assignment and the football players watched. Every class period began with a 10 minute football play discussion. I learned a lot about football! Fridays before a game, the 10 minutes crept into longer periods of time. Sometimes on Monday, a rehash of the game was the starting point for the lesson.
Can you believe this? The ONE class that I thought I might like was basically a tutoring session for the players who had to pass to play or graduate or get a college scholarship—or—-or! Fill the blanks in with anything you want!
And this is why I “love” chemistry!