Now that it’s November, it’s tough for those of us in the States to not think about Thanksgiving and all that holiday will bring. It’s also a good time to think about the things we are thankful for, not just the fantabulous feast we will enjoy with family and friends. As I listened to my granddaughter talk about her favorite teachers this year in middle school, it made me think of the teachers in my past that were my favorites or for whom I was thankful. Would my favorite be dreamy Mr. Gass, my high school geometry teacher? Think clean cut, farm-work-muscled, soulful eyed….let’s just say I never
skipped missed his class! What about Ms. Aberlich – all 5 feet of intensity, tough as nails, knows her stuff backwards forwards, sideways and upside down self!!! She taught me the mechanics of writing in a way that I wish everyone in the world had been taught!
It really is no contest though. As the teacher I would most like to thank for all she taught me about myself, about the subject and about people, I have to chose Ms. Tharpe. She taught English and I had her for Shakespeare I and II. She was tough. She would kick you out of her class for attitude or lack of participation or not being prepared, but she always gave you a clean slate when you returned. She had her favorites too, and I worked so hard in her class to prove myself worthy of ‘favored’ status. My papers and projects reflected many many hours of time and thought at a level I didn’t work at for other classes. I needlepointed a canvas of ‘What Fools These Mortals Be’ to accompany my paper on Shakespeares’s fools. WAY impressive – I couldn’t wait to get her feedback. I learned that I was capable of creative thought, careful research, and hard work. I learned I had something to say and that saying it was important.
Her classes included field trips to Stratford, ONT for live Shakespeare performances. I’m not gonna lie, those field trips were what originally sold me on signing up for her class. El and I worked VERY creatively to get as much ‘unauthorized activity’ (aka – everything we weren’t supposed to be doing) in during those trips. Ms. Tharpe won me over though. She was unconventional in the way you knew she felt she was cool and cute and popular in her seriously overweight figure, mousy brown too thin hair styled in the fashionable Farrah Fawcett haircut of the day. And you know something, she was cool and cute and popular without any of the physical attributes so highly touted in high school! That was another valuable lesson for all of us.
Thank you Ms. Tharpe. – M
Please share your favorite teacher with us – the one for whom you are most thankful.