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John Kespert
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John Kespert   My Press Releases

Tale of a Grade Shool Drop-out -Pt 9

Published on 1/19/2016
For additional information  Click Here

Tale of a Grade Shool Drop-out -Pt 9

”The Teacher Who Yelled At Me – Once”

    “John, if you turn in another paper that doesn't show signs of revision, I'm giving it a zero!” Miss Foley declared as she slapped the essay onto my desk. It was the only time she'd ever yelled at me.

    Mind you, she didn't actually raise her voice when she said those words. But the tone of her voice, and the look in her eyes, conveyed how upset she was with me just as effectively as if she'd yelled loud enough for the whole school to hear her.

    Miss Foley was an English teacher in the high school of my home town, and initially it was very unlikely that I'd attend any classes in that school. I was in a wheelchair and that building was two stories high and had no elevator. That's why I was sent to the neighboring town for my Freshman year of high school, which was all on one level.

    My only dissatisfaction with that other school was that my science teacher, who as also my algebra teacher, was not exactly passionate about science. I thought I'd have to settle with the situation, but when visiting a science fair held at my home town's high school, the superintendent of schools asked how I liked going to school in that other town. I told him it was fine but I was disappointed that my algebra/science teacher wasn't as excited about science as I was.

    Well, the superintendent took what I said seriously. Apparently he talked it over with other town officials, and by the end of school year he let me know that in the fall I could go our own high school.

    So, for the next three years, I got to attend that two story high school. And, no, they hadn't installed an elevator just for me. Instead, they enlisted strong able-bodied students to haul me up and down the stairs in my wheelchair whenever it was necessary. (Some of them actually enjoyed doing it since it let them get out of a class about 5 minutes early so the stairways wouldn't be crowded with throngs of other kids.)

    My Sophomore year English teacher was Miss Foley. She was a somewhat older woman, not very tall, and nobody ever spoke back to her. Everybody knew you better take her seriously. Even football players knew they better not try to get away with anything when it came her.

     But students also knew she really cared about them. She'd take a week off regular lessons prior to college preparatory exams to help them hone up on the English portions of those tests. And she clearly knew what she was talking about whenever she was teaching.

    I came to greatly appreciate and respect Miss Foley. So much so, that two years later, in my Senior year, I took her class in Creative Writing (which was officially called Advanced Composition). By then I'd developed a real enjoyment of writing, and I learned more about how to do it well from her.

    Even back then I was a fairly good writer. I got fairly good grades in her class, often something like an 80 or 82. I was quite content with that. But apparently Miss Foley was not. She got tired of marking my essays with a 90 and then taking off points for misspellings and other poor workmanship. She knew I could do better.

    So...for the rest of the year, after her “yelling” at me, I revised my compositions, making corrections and rewording things to make them read better. And I've been doing that ever since. When I'm tempted to slack off when I'm writing something, I can't help but think, what would Miss Foley say?

    I've only gone to one testimonial dinner for a teacher. It was a privilege to attend the dinner held to honor Miss Foley when she retired. Numerous other students also attended. We knew she was a teacher who always did her very best for us. And even today she inspires us to do our best in whatever we do.

  Thank you for taking time to read this part of my "Tale of a Grade School Drop-out."  If you'd like to read previous intallments of this series, here are links to them:  Part. 1, Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5, Part 6Part 7, and Part 8.

    I also invite you visit my IBO Social/profile page to learn what I'm doing online for business now.



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