My daughter got a trip to the library with her daddy. My son had both his mother and father at his parent teacher conference.
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Gary Svetly, Mathematics, Perry Jr. High School, 1979, Perry, Iowa
Mr. Svetly taught 7th grade math. As he said jokingly, eighth grade math was too hard for him so they sent him back a grade.
I remember him as one of the most organized teachers I knew. His classes always had the same structure – lecture, student work, questions – rarely a deviation in the pattern. By watching him, I learned that organization could be immensely valuable. Of course not all lessons I learned are practiced today (sigh).
I remember most every student respected and listened to him. Rarely did he raise his voice. I remember that I was happy that he always called students in reverse alphabetical which put me near the front.
More than just his teaching, I remember spending a lot of time at his house, as he was the father of one of my friends. He was a big man with a hearty laugh. I remember that he would play a lot of games with us kids – Royal Rummy and other card games. I remember that he spent the entire year cutting up and recycling his old teacher papers for use as confetti on New Year’s Eve.
I remember him talking about going back to get his masters degree, the challenges it posed for him, and how happy he was to get it. I remember his big garden, and his patience with us when our balls would knock over his plants.
I remember an image also. It was during the fall of an election year, and as we drove by, I looked in the window of the Democratic campaign headquarters and I saw him sitting there, alone late at night, persistently preparing campaign flyers for his beloved Democratic party. He was never shy about voicing his opinions on the candidates, but he was always polite.
Although Mr. Svetly is no longer with us, he taught me organization, persistence and that it is ok to speak up.
Thanks Mr. Svetly!
I like this series. I know that the teachers I had in high school have definitely contributed to who I am today. I was never a fan of English class, being a math and science geek, but she taught me how to be a good writer. That’s something I draw from every day. (I’ve just noticed that you can’t go back and edit as you type here.) As a former teacher I hope that I was able to positively influence at least one of my students along the way.
Thanks Gretchen. Would you like to write a few sentences about your writing teacher and send it to me? I’d like to gather memories of teachers from around the country and put them into a post during this series. You can just drop me an email.
Or anyone else reading out there – send me a memory of one of your teachers and I’ll include it. Just send it to the email in the Contact Eric section to the write with your first name and city. Thanks!