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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Teachers who make a difference

      Yesterday after a meeting someone mentioned a teacher that her son had this year.  She spoke glowingly of how much this teacher was able to help her son with his classes.  It led us to sharing stories of teachers we found memorable.  The others in the discussion mentioned high school or college teachers.  I was the exception to the discussion about a 4th grade teacher I had.  And different from the others my memory was not of a warm feel good nature.  Here is my story on that teacher.
     In 3rd grade we were all warned to watch out for the 4th grade English teacher Miss Hope.  Such a nice name for someone who should be feared.  Miss Hope was one of those teachers who never married and devoted her life to teaching.  She was feared as a strict teacher who would take you to task if you strayed in her class.  Say something grammatically incorrect in her class and you had to go up to the blackboard and write the correct grammar 20 times.   I am reminded of her every time I hear hear someone say "snuck" instead of "sneaked."  I know that snuck is now accepted as new grammar but somewhere Miss Hope would be shuddering at the change.
     Miss Hope had a number of grammatical errors on which she would jump.  Ending a sentence with a preposition was a big one with her.  How often I go back and edit this when I write something.  Having a double negative in a sentence would bring a scowl to her face.  She said it was listening to fingernails on a chalk board.  "Their" for "there" or "they're" and to, two, too used incorrectly happened far too often for her.

   

  Grammar took a hit when we stopped diagramming sentences.  The rules of sentence structure are the only way to understand grammar.  I am fairly sure that by now Miss Hope is no longer with us but her voice still plays in my head almost every day as I catch myself correcting my grammar on something I write. I have already done it twice in writing this post.  Sometimes a teacher who is feared is a teacher who is remembered.  Thank you Miss Hope.

P.S.
    I probably shouldn't mention it but in 4th grade we had nicknames for all of our teachers.  Miss Hope was Hope the Dope, Mrs Neary was Near Sighted Neary and Miss Bonham was Big Bottom Bonham.  As an adult I am a little ashamed of how disrespectful we were to these teachers.

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