Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Favorite Teacher

I had some good teachers this semester, but my theater teacher in particular I liked the most. She was always cheerful, always in a good mood, and she always had something funny to tell us, whether about the lesson or something she had come across while grading.

She also had a special way of dealing with problem students. One incident in particular really made me love her. The Friday before our first exam, someone in the class before us had had a medical emergency, leading to paramedics being called, and the room being off limits for almost the whole class period. Due to that delay, she told us that she would move the exam from Monday to the following Wednesday.

Monday morning the room was PACKED. The syllabus had stated that that was the date of the exam, so all the students who were in theater, but never came to class, were there to take the test. As I waited for class to start I could hear whispers around me.

"Is it true there's no class?"

"I don't know. I think there is. She's got a pile of papers up there."

The teacher then began to call out names from the stack as they were all papers written by the students that she had graded. She then reminded people of the incident on Friday, and that there was no test that day. Immediately there was a mass exodus, and everyone who was able, (That had only come for the exam) left the room. She didn't let this bother her and went right on with the lesson.

After talking awhile, she started up a movie clip to illustrate the point she was making. Not long after she had turned out the lights, two girls in the middle of the auditorium got up and started making their way past the other students, trying to get out of the row. They weren't all that quiet about their exit, and the teacher stood up and called up to them, "Can you girls see okay?"

She got up and walked over the podium, and turned off the movie. "I'll just turn these lights back on until you're gone." She flicked the switch, and the girls practically fell over themselves trying to get out of the row and run up the stairs. I was in the back row at the top of the auditorium, so I could hear their horrified, embarrassed moans as they literally ran out the door. It was pretty much the funniest thing ever.

This Friday, the last day of class, before she handed out the final, she wrote a name on the blackboard, Mei-Hsuan Huang, and asked if anyone could tell her the gender of the person with the name. I recognized the name as the piano player of a concert I had attended and written a paper about, so I, and a few other people, raised our hands and answered female.

She went on, saying that this was a young woman on staff at the school and she had played the piano in the ISU Symphony Orchestra a couple weeks before. She told us that Mei-Hsuan was a very lovely young woman, and in fact someone had actually written in their paper about how beautiful she was. (She may have been talking about my paper...)

She continued, "If you had seen her that night, dressed in a lovely pink dress, there would be no doubt in your mind that she was a woman. Nevertheless, in TWO different papers reviewing the concert, people wrote that they had entered the auditorium, sat down and watched a MAN come onstage and sit down at the piano. Needless to say, those papers received an F."

The whole class cracked up laughing at this. Well, probably most of the class. I'm going to guess that the two people who wrote those papers weren't laughing.

This class was by far my favorite, and most of it had to do with my teacher. The subject matter, the history of music, dance, theater, and movies, was all interesting, but it was her engaging style of teaching, and the fact that she was just so cheerful and funny, that made me enjoy the class so much. She could have taught a math class and made me love it.

Teachers are everything. I really hope I get teachers next year that are at least half as good as she was. :)

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