a teacher worthy of praise

To learn, or not to learn, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous teachers,
Or to tune them out and study all alone.
And by ignoring, end them?  To grow, to quest;
No more; and by a quest to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That school is heir to, ’tis an understanding
Devoutly to be wish’d.  To grow, to quest;
To quest: perchance to learn: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that vast knowledge what dreams may come…

I wouldn’t say that school was wasted on me, and while I thought it at the time, I no longer believe I was smarter than all of my teachers.  (Ah, to be young, arrogant, and foolish – invincible, immortal, and untouchable.)  However, partially due to my perception, outlook and attitude while in school, and partially due to the teachers I ended up with, there was no single teacher that ever stood out and changed my life.

In the school setting that is.

An outsider, a victim of bullying, school was not the sanctuary of knowledge and learning that is for so many others.  I dreaded the minutes between classes.  I abhorred the agonizingly dull seconds in classes when I was forced to be present in the class and walk through information I had invariably covered on my own weeks before.  It was only a place of excitement and learning when I was allowed to look ahead and study on my own, when I was allowed the time to quest after knowledge at my own pace.  Those stolen moments of brilliance were rare.

Since my escape from the confines of the classrooms, life, and living it, has taught me, changed me, shaped me, inspired me, influenced me.  And behind all of those experiences you will find my parents, who set me on my path pointed in the right direction, gave me guidance when it was needed and gave me the freedom to make mistakes and learn on my own too.  They have been my most influential teachers.

My mother, an English Teacher by education and a mother by profession is ever my guiding light for all things writing.  She continues to read and edit my endeavours in the written word and offer suggestions and corrections as needed.  She encourages me.  She pushes me to strive for me.

My father, a physicist and engineer by education (yes, he is a rocket scientist) and mountain man and world traveler by choice is often the spark plug for my mountain adventures.  It is those sojourns into the wild that have so often become the muse for my stories.  It is those experiences that have taught me how I want to live in this world.

Thank you both for being there for me when I rebelled against the conventional structures of education.  Thank you for your patience and your guidance.  Thank you for continuing to be teachers even as I embark on this new journey in my life: my own family.

….

I couldn’t actually remember all the words to Hamlet’s speech, so I looked them up here.

22 thoughts on “a teacher worthy of praise

  1. Beautiful post. I am a bit jealous of the parents you have., an English teacher AND a rocket scientist. Your baby is going to have the awesomest grandparents!! 🙂

  2. delightful. While I want to be sorry for the less-than-stellar experiences you’ve had in the classroom, I want instead to applaud your awareness that it can be overcome. Love that your parents are both English teacher and engineer. that’s what our kids have grown up with too. Love more than even that your personal arrangement of the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’ Keep writing! 🙂

  3. A very lovely and loving tribute to two parents who took their role as primary educators of their children seriously. While I had some great teachers in public school, most of my education came from the books I asked them to recommend to me to read in my spare time. I hate to sound so cynical, but the American public education model is made to manufacture mediocre citizens just as Henry Ford’s factory was built to make Model Ts. My wife and I chose to home school our children and, while we made plenty of mistakes, I am fully satisfied they are well-rounded, intelligent, creative creations of God who will fulfill their calling well.

    Keep up the good writing.

    • Thank you… When the bullying was at it’s worst, along with my malaise about school in general, my parents said they would home school me if I wanted to go that route. I ended up choosing to stick it out so I would be able to keep the social interactions I did enjoy – our little town didn’t have the same type of support networks for home schoolers that can be found elsewhere.

  4. I can say from experience that your parents are pretty awesome people. Though your father being a rocket scientist no longer impresses me as I have had to instruct his peers on basic common sense.

    Finally, all I have to say is…11th grade Honors English. *shudders*

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