It’s teacher appreciation week in most of the United States, and since I think a great deal about the teachers I have had over the years, I decided to try to write about some of them this week. By no means is this a comprehensive list. But I will start with one of the ones who had made an impact on my life.
Mr. Madrid was one of my most favorite teachers in high school at my California high school.
He was tall with dark curly hair. He had a child-like exuberance and a flair for telling stories. It also helped that he was kind of cute. Several of us girls seemed to have crushes on him
He taught two of my Advanced History courses (Ancient Civilizations and European History), so I had him two years in a row. He always said hello to me when passing in the hallways in the years afterwards though.
Once, he stood on his desk to make a point. I remember staring up at him while still trying to keep writing notes as he lectured up there.
Another time, he motioned to us to move out into the hallway to have our class time since an overworked student had fallen asleep in class. He did that because he didn’t want to wake the kid. He made sure said kid got his notes too, so that he didn’t miss out on the lecture.
He was full of moments he called “CPI” – Cocktail Party Information. He would stop in the middle of one of his lectures and state “CPI MOMENT!” and give us a random piece of trivia, usually related to what he was lecturing on, but not always. Here are just a few I remember thanks to him:
- Hitler was rather short.
- The Blarney Stone is black from everyone kissing it.
- Xerxes was an fierce warrior in Greek history (and was an awesome name).
- Goldfish have a very short memory span.
Because my family didn’t have a home computer when I was in ninth grade, he stayed after school a few times while I typed my final paper for his class on the computer lab computers. I know he corrected papers during that time. I later realized he was giving up his free time so that I could have a chance to get ahead in classes. He made time like that for many of his students.
Of course, because of him, I passed the Advanced Placement test in European History and remembered a great deal of what he taught me, building on it in college and then in my own research.
Mr. Madrid took an already budding love for history in a scrawny fourteen year old girl and cemented it into a interest that has now spanned twenty five some odd years. I knew after my second year of having him as a teacher that History was my absolute favorite class and something that I eventually majored in.
Teachers just don’t teach to tests. Teachers make an impact on the lives of others. But lately, it seems that many of them are looked down upon. They are disrespected. Yet, they hold the world in their hands as they help train young minds to think and learn. Were it not for the skills I learned from Mr. Madrid and the other teachers along the way who inspired me, I know I would not be the writer I am today, the researcher I am today, the person that I am today.
The world needs teachers. They need the type of people who come along and help others out.
Teachers, stay magical. Keep writing your stories. I am glad I had many who helped write mine.
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And as always, #writeyourownstory
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