This afternoon I was digging around in a desk drawer, looking to clean out some papers and cards. The ongoing downsizing effort.
I found this fifty year old Daily Record Newspaper clipping sandwiched in a manila folder along with an old MAD magazine that sold for a quarter.
That’s me, top left in the hood (with my mouth open) Photo by George Baumann
On this night before a new school year is about to start and the summer vacation and family visits are memories, I was thinking about why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place.
I’m writing and posting these photos to pay tribute to wonderful teachers in my life.
In the 3rd grade I had an excellent teacher Grace Wagner from Dravosburg PA who taught at Winchester- Thurston. I found an alumni listing online Indiana PA Teachers College class of 1920. Unfortunately I can’t find the photo I have of her but plan to unearth it and post someday soon. Who wouldn’t love a teacher who wrote this about their student. I found it tonight in an envelope addressed to my parents, inside a deteriorating leather scrapbook. Isn’t her handwriting beautiful? I am so grateful I discovered this report tonight before school starts. “she is able to put her gifts to good use” she wrote. I feel encouraged once again as I hear her voice as I read the words she wrote in 1960-1961
Miss Wagner marked a 1 ( outstanding) for Play Spirit on the report card. They don’t have that category on report cards anymore.
And here is Winona Stewart from Morris Plains Borough School in New Jersey.
In the sixth grade and also in the 7th and 8th grade I had a most wonderful teacher- Winona Stewart. We had a Roman Banquet and she read The Human Comedy by William Saroyan aloud after lunch, and also The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. Every week we memorized a poem and recited it- The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth is one I remember well. I took this photo of Mrs. Steward in 1966, the year I graduated from 8th grade. When I lived in Germany and my own kids were young in the early 80’s, I found an address and wrote her a thank you note and told her how I remembered her reading aloud to our class and how she influenced my choice to get a Masters in Reading. She wrote a beautiful note back to me and one of these days I bet I unearth it, too. She collaborated with the next teacher I am going to mention. We did a show called The Curse of Ra as we learned about Egypt making a gold sarcophagus of papier mache and I was a dancing girl. It all seemed so exciting and wonderful and fun!
Mr G. is why I wanted to be an art teacher. I had him in grade school AND High School. I didn’t try to contact him soon enough as he was deceased when I though of it.
Arthur W Guenther. He produced a movie with our 4th grade class called Around the World in 90 Minutes. I was from the Netherlands and we used real wooden shoes in the tulips. I got a bit part in the French segment too, standing by a Kiosk, chatting away. I remember Starr Kenyon went down the slide as if skiing. Titi Moglia wore a kimono and had a fan and there were pink tissue paper cherry blossoms. I wish I could see the movie again.
When I think of all his creativity, I am in awe.
Mr. Guenther danced on Broadway in the show South Pacific with Mary Martin and showed us his scrapbook,
Mr. Guenther helped finish the monochrome portrait of me in 4th period oil painting class. It hangs in my bathroom.
My granddaughter Anna asked this past week, “Why are you all green?: and I started thinking about Mr Guenther and how he inspired me.
And here I am tonight, wondering if I can inspire someone as I start my new classes.
My father, Roy J. Hendricks (b. 1912-d.2002) was a teacher in a one room school in Illinois
My mother Marian VanSickle (b. 1912- d. 2000) was a teacher in a one room school in Illinois That is my mom in the back row on the left.
What teacher inspired you?
for Mr. Swanger……
The weekly prompt suggested a tight crop, an abstract, perhaps some architectural lines of buildings. Hmmm. Here is my series in response to geometry.
I loved geometry and the love of it came from the teacher whom I remember so well this evening as I write this post: Geometry.
I’m thinking of one of the best teachers I ever had- Mr. Swanger, in Morristown High School, New Jersey. I’m sure you have memorable teachers whom you remember, too.
Did a quick search and found this wonderful tribute in the Morris Educational Foundation publication.
Here is an excerpt and a link to the information about Saul Swanger Fellowship for New Teachers
“its purpose is “to encourage effective, innovative new teachers to pursue a lifetime of excellence in public education through the award of professional development fellowships, which help them to explore a professional passion, to pursue a course of study and/or undertake activities which would not otherwise be possible.”
The Legacy of Saul S. Swanger
Whether it was flipping the chalk over his shoulder onto the top rim of the blackboard, his tests with humorous problems about Stanislaus and his incorrigible younger brother Whatalouse, the sweet smell of his pipe smoke, or the warmth with which he embraced all of his students, Saul Swanger is remembered fondly by many generations of MHS alumni.
Mr. Swanger began his teaching career in 1938, teaching English, Ancient History, American History, Sociology, Latin, Spanish, Algebra, and Geometry in a schoolhouse in Claytonia, Nebraska, which was home to students in grades K-12. He came to MHS in 1944 and remained for forty years, thirty of them as Chairman of the Math Department. Immediately prior to his retirement in 1984, the MHS Honor Society changed its name to the Saul S. Swanger Chapter of the National Honor Society.
When asked about his proudest moments, Mr. Swanger said, “Because I continue to live in the same town where I taught, hardly a week goes by without my meeting a former student whom I taught (or whose children or grandchildren I taught), usually to exchange warm and often humorous memories. At times like these, I remember the words of Henry Adams:
‘A teacher affects infinity. He can never tell where his influence stops.’”
In a speech before the Middle States Evaluating Committee, which was reviewing the continued accreditation of MHS, Mr. Swanger spoke of young teachers as “noble and radiant with hope for the future.” He went on to speak of