Saturday, February 4, 2012

In Recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week

In 2011 for Teacher Appreciation Week I shared 
A Teacher I am Thankful For 
every day for two weeks.

Teacher Number One: My mom, Janet (Arms) Hanson. 7th Grade English. Highlights includes forcing me to look up words in the dictionary instead of spelling them for me and teaching me how to give a intelligent book report. Also taught me to read, bake, sew, drive, and swim.

Day Two Teacher I am thankful for: Steve Spiwak: taught me the real results of discipline, circular breathing, how to appreciate music, how to count and march in 7/8 time and how to forge his name on a hall pass. All that and I wasn't even a very good sax player.

Day Three Teacher I am thankful for: Mrs. Sigler and Mrs. McElroy, 2nd and 3rd grade, respectively. I LOVED THEM BOTH. which, by extension, makes a kid love going to school and learning. I owe them both my deep and dorky love of learning. Mrs. Sigler introduced "Charlotte's Web" and Mrs. McElroy brought me "James and the Giant Peach", two books that forever shaped my ability to visualize while I read.

Day four teacher I am thankful for: Mr. Wundrow, 7th grade math. He taught and taught until even his below-average math students (like me) learned, and he was kind and patient and funny the whole time. He built a microcosm of the economic world in his four math periods, complete with checkbooks and a stock market. How many 7th graders know how to balance a checkbook?

Day five teacher I am thankful for: Linda Uttech (Mrs. Scott) British Literature, High school senior year. Back when teachers and students had the time to understand the essence of a subject, Mrs. Scott brought it all home with her assignments of role-playing and finding things in our own lives to write odes to (in iambic pentameter). In her class I learned to memorize and cite poetry and prose, increasing my ability to absorb ideas in written text.

day 7 teacher: Prof. Charlotte Brancaforte, undergrad final German grammar. Prior to this class I had skated through German classes because I did a lot of hanging out & could shoot the shit well. That ended with Brancaforte. She nailed my a__ to the proverbial grammar wall. Sorry folks, you can have your Rosetta Stone, and I could "talk" in German, but endless repetition, writing and re-writing, summarizing...this is the way to learn to "speak" with intelligence and grace.
 On the first day of class she told the class,"The say 'Repetition is hell'- Welcome to hell."
She kept me after class another time and literally said, "you've skated through this long because you speak well, THAT. ALL. ENDS. NOW."

day 8 teacher I am thankful for: Robt A Carpenter. brought everything that changed my life into the realm of reality for me: motorcycles, art history, professional art making, sculpture and construction, fine wine, fine dining, design, and a deep and infinite love of savoring the Wisconsin landscape. The seeds were there, but they flowered under his care.

Day 9 teacher I am thankful for: Whitney Chadwick, art history, 2nd undergrad; Surrealism, grad school. I can't do her justice in 420 characters or with my limited vocabulary. Riveting lectures, comprehensive class structure. She is an expert in art history and an expert at conveying knowledge. (When I saw her on campus I used to get weak-kneed and flustered, so in awe of her brain I was.)

day 10 teacher I am thankful for: Paul Mullins, drawing and painting, 2nd undergrad. He taught me to paint, but more importantly, Mullins taught me to see like a painter. Imagine having your perception of the visual world forever altered. I still return to him for advice and mentoring. Bonus: His bullshit tolerance level is even lower than mine.

day 11 teacher I am thankful for: Edward Luby, MA, Fundraising, Governance, Museum Tours, etc. Besides working tirelessly to bring his classes the most current information in the field, Luby is changing the way Museums work with the community one student at a time. He is everything a professor is supposed to be: a teacher, a mentor, a role-model, an insider and an objective outsider all at the same time. His positivity is like a mantra non-profit workers can come back to in the hard times. The best-practices that he instills in his students sticks like a guiding conscience in my mind. He is like the non-corrupt head of the Church of Museum.

day 12 teacher I am thankful for: the teachers of Cetlalic Language School, in Cuernavaca, Mexico. If you were traveling and hooked up with people who listened patiently while you slaughtered their language like a retarded infant, took you to the coolest places for beers and openly shared the experiences of their professional and personal lives to help you better understand Mexican culture, you would consider yourself pretty lucky, right? In this photo: Mario Garcia,Roberto Palacios Baeza and Leti. The community of Cetlalic extends to the families one stays with: Ana Dom Cas and family and Senora Alicia Rodriguez and family.

day 13 teacher I am thankful for: Linda Camarena, co-worker, SFUSD: art. Even if you think you have nothing to do with kids, they are part of your community, and they will be the adults walking down the street next to you in such a short amount of time, it could make your head spin. Which is why we need good teachers in public schools teaching kids and shaping them into grown-ups we want to be around. A gorgeous, strong, intelligent role model to 100's of kids over 37 years, Linda bypassed a party at my house because two of her students had won an art contest and she had to attend the ceremony. The self-esteem of those two kids is going to be just a couple notches higher when they're walking down the street next to me.

day 14 Teacher I Am Thankful For: Christina Sosa, My son's transition room teacher. At first I was intimidated by her serious manner. (No high, squeaky baby voices, no oh-my-god-that-baby-is-so-cuuuuuuute!) Then I realized that she treated every child with patience and serious dignity.
I credit her with my son's high verbal abilities, his ability to focus and listen, even when his body is moving around and his strong identity. No question or thought from a child was insignificant. Everything they said and did merited her undivided attention and response.

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