Facebook Post: 2020-09-22T11:04:45

As a kid I disliked school. It moved slowly, I was uncomfortable in social situations and generally speaking, it gave me about an hour’s worth of work and information in a 7 hour period of time. Also, I really, really hated mornings and I hadn’t discovered coffee yet. Of course, back then, you weren’t allowed to have drinks in the classroom. Even now I’m not sure a 5th or 6th grade teacher would go for a student walking into their classroom with a cup of coffee in their hand…but if I were that age now, I’d certainly try.

But teachers, I loved my teachers. I was far more comfortable with them and they were fascinating people. Easier to understand, intelligent, kind and possessing a wealth of knowledge that they would share with me. It might take me a minute or two, but I can probably recall the face or name of virtually every teacher I had from 1st to 12th grade. Almost every one of them had a quantifiable impact on me that I can still speak about today. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, I’m more likely to sit and wonder what happened to my old teachers than I am most of the students that I attended school with. Like I said, I wasn’t comfortable in social situations and I couldn’t relate to most kids my age.

I could go on and on about the impact of teachers and principals in my life, even a couple of the janitors! I may have disliked school, but the people there made it forever amazing.

All of which leads me to this, my 6th grade year, which is probably my favorite year for a variety of reasons, but chief among them were my teacher and my principal. I could write a whole essay on Keith, the principal, but today I want to talk about my teacher, (The Honorable) Scott T McCulloch.

I was in his class for 3 days and then I moved for a couple of months. And then I was back in his class like nothing ever happened. It’s a long story and he didn’t make an issue of it. Scott was a loud, enthusiastic guy who had to speak in a whisper because he’d just had surgery on his vocal cords. He made up for the lack of volume with nice, thick hair and a great smile. His method of teaching fractions and percentages was to bring in the football scores from the weekend and we’d figure the stats on whoever was playing the Vikings that week. He never lacked for enthusiasm, was visibly compassionate and caring in a time when that wasn’t acceptable for most men to be, and that didn’t bother him at all. He sparked my interest in politics, ran for and won a seat as a Representative, was enthusiastic about science, life and his students. He was also the first teacher I ever got into a real argument with, but he still managed to handle it with grace and respect, even though he didn’t have to. He taught me that leadership can be quiet and considered, not just loud and obvious. He respected intelligence and knowledge and didn’t make fun of those that didn’t fit the usual molds. Scott is a great example of why I love so many of the teachers that I met in my time at school, and why I am so adamant about education and education reform today.

I lost touch with Scott sometime after leaving 6th grade, but I’d ask after him from time to time, and thanks to his continued interest in politics, I’d see his name crop up in news articles and the like and I would smile. Unfortunately I saw his name again today, but not in the section I’d ever want to see it. It’s a little harder to smile today.

By Dan Granot

I chose the Shorter Whitman because of his work, "Song of Myself" and because of my self-deprecating sense of humor. I am under no illusion that I can write successful essays or poetry, but I have been known to write them anyway.

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