Monday, February 18, 2008

"Favorite" Teachers

A few weeks past, Phil Foust suggested articles about our "favorite" teachers would be interesting. Some articles did follow and gave some perspective on what a "favorite" teacher was. I had written that Mrs. Nadine Morris was probably my "favorite" teacher, but now I think maybe instead of "favorite teacher", I will address an article about the most memorable teacher, for one reason or another.

My first most memorable teacher, like many others that attended grade school at that time, was Mrs. (Effie ) Foster. She was large. She was "muscular". She had red hair and a very red face whenever she was angered by her students, (and that was frequently ). And she had a very loud voice when aroused. She did not tolerate any mis-behaving by any of her sixth grade boys. But she was a good teacher, and she cared about her pupils. As some of the girls in our class indicated, she also did not put up with any of the girls antics, either.

The second teacher in chronological order that was memorable was Mr. ( Howard ) Bates. He taught eighth grade and coached basketball. I do not know if he was a good teacher, or whether he was a good coach, but I do remember that he was very effective in neutralizing some of the rowdy and troublesome boys in the class. For about two years they had been terrorizing students and teachers alike with bullying methods, but Mr. Bates who was maybe five feet seven inches tall and weighed no more than 140 pounds confronted them one day. He pulled off his tie, opened his shirt and showed the astounded boys the abdominal bayonet scars that he had suffered on the Bataan Death March. He indicated to them, that if he could have survived that, he could take care of them. As I remember, the remainded of eighth grade was peaceful.

Next memorable, Bob Jones Williams. He was actually a good science teacher, but no one would remember that because of his other antics. He had distracting facial tics and grimaces and he was a world class "nut job". He had no ability to maintain discipline in class, and was the butt of many practicle jokes, both in the classroom and elsewhere. I seem to recall someone planted a skunk in his car. Later he claimed to be a witch, and joined a coven in Wichita, and later killed himself. He actually deserved to be pitied and not persecuted.

Bob Sears taught algebra. He must have been a lousy teacher because I could never comprehend algebra. In fact, after the algebra class I would go to study hall, where Gary White would explain all the intricacies of algebra, and thanks to him I think I got an "A". But Mr. Sears was memorable because he was short and stocky and powerful and wore glasses that had a blue tint, and also he told us great stories of his experiences as a tank commander during the war. Maybe that was why I could never understand algebra, too many tank stories. It was interesting that about 30 years later, Mr. Sears came to my office as a Urology patient, and he did not remember who I had been . I guess I was not memorable.

Our Spanish teacher was Mr. Long. Another short, chubby man with round jowlie facies, but he made Spanish classes a lot of fun, and we, or at least I, learned a lot of Spanish. He was always laughing and joking, and had a fairly decent voice when he sang the "Lord Prayer" in Spanish. I probably remember more useful information from his class than any other class, high school or college.

Gary has written about Mr. Jewell, the typing teacher. He was a neat guy because he allowed me to sit in the class and learn proper typing technique, even though I was not enrolled due to scheduling problems. The good thing about that was that he was not yelling at me like the others because I wasn't really there.

Coaches!! I imagine the greatest CVHS coach was Cecil Humphries, even though he was gone before our class arrived. But during our tenure, I remember James Phillips being the coach who taught us more basketball fundamentals, and discipline. I guess he knew football also, but during track and basketball was where he excelled in teaching.

Last and least, in my estimation, was Coach Jack Reginato. My personal memories of him were all fairly negative because he did not seem to really know the coaching job. Maybe my whole remembrance of him was colored by one factor. During my senior year, during one football practice I injured my right wrist. I went to the "Coach" and he looked at it and said, "Oh, Woodruff, grow up. That is just a sprain. It will get better. Get back out there and run a hundred laps". Well , it didn't get better and every couple of weeks I would approach him with my painful wrist, he would look at it, poke on it, and tell me it was just a sprain. That continued on for three months, until basketball practice started and I found I could not do push-ups because of the pain the "sprained wrist". Coach Reginato yelled at me to do the push-ups right, so I told him my "sprained wrist" still hurt too much. At that point, he sent me down to Dr. Hays hospital, x-rays were done, and low and behold the "sprain" was a broken bone. Because of the delay, the bone never healed properly and I suffered with chronic pain for the next fifty-five years.

Actually, one more teacher was memorable, but I can't even remember her name. She taught English, was short and pretty and was a lousy English teacher. She was fired half-way through the senior year because of some extra-curricular activities with male students. I would have done much better in my first year of college if I had been taught how to write a decent paper. But at least she was fun to look at.


Phil Foust said...

Grow up, Woodruff ... it's just a broken wrist. Now, get out there and win one for the ponies.

Your good lookin' English teacher may not have been the greatest ... but enough instruction 'soaked through' to allow for a very interesting blog.

BTW what were extra-curricular activities? It was always my understanding that the term was used for sports and music and such. It's difficult to understand how a well-rounded gal could have been fired [for instance] for wrestling a bit with 'The Barber of [ahem] Seville'.

It's a darn wonder that such a conservative school board didn't remove our own Naomi from school for her provocative yodeling routine. (Especially after she rid herself of the previously acceptable braids.)

wayne woodruff said...

I do believe her extra-curricular activities did involve some kind of wrestling, although I do not know from personal experience (Too Bad)

Dick Williams said...

The English teacher you were referring too was Margaret Vause. She and Dorothy Rucker replaced the Pettys'. Both were only there for one year. I thought Jim Petty was the best English teacher I had. He also directed the plays.Reginato wasn't a coach, he was just there.

Anonymous said...

I'm not quite sure what you meant by "provocative yodeling routine" but, you're right, I am surprised that action wasn't taken because I skipped school and got the braids cut off.

Anonymous said... old fellow was seen smiling ... and sighing ... and profoundly expressing ... over and over ... "I love anonymous and anonymous and anonymous".

Naomi said...

I really didn't mean to make that comment annymous but momentarily forgot my pass word, and forgot to sign my name.

Gary Metcalf said...

I never knew until now that other aspiring athlete's felt the same as I about Reginato, Dick you were right he "was there", kind of like an emtpy shirt. My senior year (56) we had a coach, Lee Jeffery who had played semi-pro basketball in Denver, 6'6" tall, a big man in those days. He and Phillips we the best coach's that I recall.

wayne woodruff said...

And Gary Metcalf was ONE of the best second-basemen in the history of CV.

Gary Metcalf said...

Other teachers I recall were Sandlin, choir, Ed Hudson and Reid McKinney (sp) which I will relate my most rememberable experience with him. One day after basketball practice coach Reginato told us to shoot 50 free throws. Mr. Mckinney just happened to be in the gym then and as I was shooting the free throws, he stood under the basket and returned to ball to me. I just happened to be in the "zone" that day and made 49 straight free throws and missed the 50th. Coach said "Metcalf how many did you make" and I replied 49. He looked at me in disbelive and said "no you didn't". However Mr McKinney verfied that I did. I surely thought they would retire my jersey and hang it from the gym rafters, but they didn't, life can be so cruel sometimes.

wayne woodruff said...

49 in a row???? Come on Gary. I know you were good, but......

Phil Foust said...

...49 in a row ... pretty amazing, Gary! We have a sophomore girl here at Marion that hit her first 24 free throws this year in game competition. She has now shot somewhere over 50 and has missed only three.