Back in the '60s when hormones dictated our every move, life could get pretty complicated. Feelings were so strong, and urges took over everything. In junior high, we now had to struggle with pimples, budding breasts, vocal changes and dealing with our budding sexuality.
But, we were also embraced in the fold of Walter Reed Junior High, and thankfully, some teachers made this journey a little easier with their wise ways, patience, encouragement, and love of teaching.
Here are some of my favorites:
This guy was such a card. Those of you who had him for English probably remember his famed turtle races, his mambo style jig for learning our helping verbs that went like this:
“Is be been am are,
Was were has have had,
Do does did,
May can might,
Could must shall will,
His clothes were rumpled, and sometimes he fingered one of his false teeth, but Mr. Maley was so much fun, and his animated lessons truly took the sting out of learning.
Although this guy had the personality of a tortoise, his chemistry class was a whirlwind of fun. I remember learning about test tubes, beakers, and the purpose of a centrifuge. Remember those random explosions that would take place when various elements were combined with one another? Even when fires broke out, Mr. Mack was always calm, despite the hysterics that erupted from these mishaps.
Mrs. Bradley looked like she had escaped from a convent, but she was very knowledgeable when it came to the finesse of anatomic dissection. She never winced when she’d dispense those frogs and eyeballs for us to dissect, despite the screams from some of the students, and the occasional hurling.
Mrs. Harrop-Physical Education
Back in junior high, some of the P.E. teachers really enjoyed looking over the stall to make sure you took a shower. Yuck. Mrs. Harrop wasn’t like that. She just stuck to the basics of helping us enjoy PE, and all the benefits of physical activity. She didn’t have that stiff military persona, and if we were really on the rag, she didn’t make us shower.
This lady was a delight, with her gorgeous silver hair pulled back into a tight bun. For those of us who found math to be an engaging topic, she was a dream.
This handsome man was a real charmer, and what a great head of hair. I’m sure many female teens were in his radar, although I never heard any stories about impropriety. I do remember learning several basic Spanish phrases that went something like this:
“Ojala que te mejores pronto.” (I hope you get better soon)
“Aqui esta la sal, y tambien la pimienta.” (Here’s the salt, and also the pepper.)
A few years later, I learned some other Spanish phrases, but they wouldn’t be appropriate for this column.
What teachers do you remember and what classes did you like?
Feel free to share your stories right here on the Patch.