Friday, March 9, 2012
You Use More Of Your Brain Teaching School Than Being A Nuclear Physicist - And You Can Have A Greater Effect On The World
Yesterday at the Disneyland ticket booth, which I only have to visit once a year when I renew my season's pass, I was entertained by the funniest woman. If you spend any time at the Disney theme parks, you know that everyone is identified by a name badge that also includes their hometown. Her name was Mary Lou and her hometown was The Bronx. I asked how long she had been in California, since she had no discernible accent. She actually said that she had not been there long enough to have lost a Bronx accent, but that her 2nd grade teacher had taught her not to speak with an accent. What I thought was that she must have had an amazingly good 2nd grade teacher - not so. It turns out that after Kindergarten in the Bronx, her family spent 2 years in West Virginia where she picked up such a thick accent that upon returning to the Bronx to continue with the 3rd grade, the school system wanted to hold her back 2 grades because they thought she sounded too dumb for 3rd grade. (Just to be clear here - we're not making fun of accents - just the fact that her teacher didn't even try to understand what she was saying. Like the comedy bit about advising your girlfriend to marry a British man, so her children would always sound smarter.) But my point, and I do have one, is how one teacher in grade school can have had such a profound effect on us as adults. I am left handed, but my 1st grade teacher, just by putting my paper on my desk on the proper diagonal, assured that I would learn to write like all the right-handers. No cramping up my hand and smearing my ink, by the overhanded hand position so many left-handers are stuck with. I'm not even sure if I'm remembering her name properly - Mrs. Macmillan? But every time I sign my name, her influence shows. (And in a good way!) So anyone know for sure what my 1st grade teacher's name was? Or have any residual effects from really good grade school teaching?