I’ve a real a treat for you today (and the coming days, actually.) Today I begin a series of interview questions with my high school English teacher, Frank Barone. He is retired now but still lives in San Diego and he and I get together now and then for coffee and book talk.
At nineteen I left
I became a teacher for practical reasons. I needed a job and I needed to make some money to survive. With the one education course I had in the seminary, two degrees, and with my training to work with and for people, I decided to apply for a teaching position. A Catholic boys’ school hired me, to teach Latin and English, mostly because of my experience of working with young people at a summer day camp. After one year there I accepted a teaching position at a similar school in
In 1963 during a summer vacation to visit my younger brother I met my future wife. I knew after just one date I had found someone special. After returning to
My teaching career spanned eight years in
Me: I LOVE that! “
Me: I LOVE that! “Someone once told me it did not matter why we entered the profession, but why we stayed in it.” Okay. First question: What was the best part about teaching high school students? Worst?
Frank: The best part came for me came ten years into my teaching career when I put my students’ desks in a circle, sat down with them, and listened to them. That one change made a significant difference in my career and transformed my classes. Now the students talked and I listened, participated with them, and served as a resource person for their individual and group needs. My classes changed from teacher-directed to student-centered. I could see not only how much more relaxed they were, but also how much more involved they became with their education and with each other. That change also relaxed me and helped me to get to know them better as real persons and learners, not just names in a roll book. And they came to know me better as well since I shared myself with them, wrote and did assignments along with them. We all learned more by listening to each other in the sharing circle and by working together in groups during the workshop time. I became a better teacher from listening to my students and learning from them. Many of them became, and remain, my friends.
No worst part. Yes, I had some difficult days and difficult students, but so does every profession. My training and experience and the support from my teacher-friends helped me to cope and to turn some of those down times into positive experiences. I am always grateful that
Me: I fondly remember that circle! And I am glad to be one of the students who is now, thirty-five years later, a friend . . .
More on Monday . . .