Chapter 16 of the P. and G. Story Part III

Roman Thermal Baths at Trier- Photo Credit: wikipedia.org
Roman Thermal Baths at Trier- Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

A Failing Grade in English

Although I had developed quite early in my life a knack for languages, I was not doing very well in the English course. In spite of my efforts, especially in the last two senior grades, I failed to obtain a passing grade.15a To overcome my apparent deficiencies I even enrolled in an independent commercial correspondence course. I began to read English novels, exchanged notes and worked with friends, wrote a research paper on the British welfare system, all to no avail. Mr. M., our English teacher, used a rigid, my-way-only teaching approach, which I dreaded and which caused me to have nightmares. This young and inexperienced teacher had a peculiar way of marking our written work. For each grammatical error he would put a big cross in red ink on the margin of the test paper. No matter how good the essay was, no matter how well the student expressed his thoughts, the final grade would never be better than a mere satisfactory mark. But if one received two of those red marks, as was often the case with my work, the best one could hope for was a D (a 5 on a scale from 1 to 6). This method was stifling my creativity. For me the only way to squeeze out a satisfactory result was to write as little as possible in an effort to avoid those fearful crosses. Mr. M., of course, noticing my attempts of circumventing the grammatical pitfalls, now zeroed in with vengeance on the sketchy details and evaluated my writing as scanty and deficient. It became very clear to me then that I could not develop my true potential in an atmosphere of paralyzing fear and indeed I wound up with an unsatisfactory grade on my graduation certificate.

Filed Trip to Trier, the Imperial Summer Residence of Roman Emperors
Filed Trip to Trier, the Imperial Summer Residence of Roman Emperors

We had teachers, whom we feared and despised, teachers, whom we feared and respected, and teachers, whom we loved and respected. One of the latter was Mr. Müller, our math teacher in the senior grades. He presented his lessons on analytical geometry and calculus with clarity and a sense of humor. Being still in his early thirties, he was in touch with what made an adolescent mind tick. He gained our respect through his profound knowledge of the subject matter, his enthusiasm for mathematics and his ability to infuse in us understanding and even love for the queen of science. He often introduced a new topic with a joke. To warm us adolescents up to the trigonometric functions hinting with a meaningful twinkle in his eyes at their beautiful curves, he told us the joke about a teacher in an all-girls high school in the lower grades. One day the young girls asked him a question during the math lesson, “What are sine functions, Mr. T?”

Sine wave

He promptly answered while revealing his knowledge of ancient languages, “The word ‘sine’ is derived from the Latin ‘sinus’ and means bosom. But you will get that later in the upper grades.” No doubt, that joke and many others of this kind appealed to us boys being in that volatile stage of development sandwiched between child- and adulthood.

To be continued in the New Year …

Autobiography Book Germany Photography The P. and G. Klopp Story Writing

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hallo,Peter! Deine Story ist einfach wieder wunderbar geschrieben. Wie ungerecht und engstirnig Menschen doch sein können-und wenn dann so viel von ihrer Beurteilung abhängt,kann es sehr hart werden.Ich habe solche Leute auch immer gehasst.. Aber du hast ja zum Glück auch Lehrer kennengelernt, die ihr lieben und respektieren konntet!! Ich freu mich schon auf die Fortsetzung! Mit herzlichen Grüssen! Edda

    Von meinem iPhone gesendet

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vielen Dank für den lieben Kommentar, Edda! Nun möchte ich in aller Fairness auch eingestehen, dass wir als Schüler gegenüber den alten und schwachen Lehrern uns oft sehr grausam und gemein verhalten haben. Das tut mir heute noch leid. Aber davon mehr im Neuen Jahr!

      Like

    • Thank you for your kind words, Bun! Many experiences in life, even when they are shocking at times, have also a positive side. In this case I had the courage to immigrate to Canada and to choose the teaching profession. It was my goal to show that the joy of learning rather than crippling fear is the key toward true progress in education.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Candid Chicana

Chicano Culture, Self-Development & More

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

A Whistling Caravan

Write not to impress others,but to express yourself and inspire others!!!™

PlantsandBeyond

Plant Based Living and Gardening

Alles mit Links.

Ja, Schnecke, besteig den Fuji, aber langsam, langsam! (Issa)

Zimmerbitch

age is just a (biggish) number) NUMBER

Thinking Ahead

Consequences of thinking ahead and remembering the past.

ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE

Confessional Fiction, Free Verse Poetry and Prose, Non-Poetry and Art

witlessdatingafterfifty

Relationships reveal our hearts.

Wondering and Wandering

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live! Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow..." --Henry David Thoreau, August 19, 1851

Frau Stich-Schlinge

handGemachtes & allerlei Tüddellütt

birgitdiestarkeblog

What you see is what you get

My Fragmented Narrative

rants and ramblings freshly served

rabbitpatchdiarycom

comfort and joy from my home to yours

mommermom

......one moms journey

Find Your Middle Ground

"Life is a series of highs and lows. Be grateful for the highs. Be graceful in the lows. Enjoy life fully and find contentment in your Middle Ground" Val Boyko

This Much I Know

Exploring life after raising a family

the creative life in between

cherishing the moments and exploring my passion for creativity... through art, photography, food, and writing

Retirementally Challenged

Navigating through my post-work world

Curious Steph

explorations on the journey of living

The Cedar Journal

The adventures of a cedar canoe

Under a Cornish Sky

inspired by the colours of the land, sea and sky of Cornwall

A Quiet Word

Looking for the Light- Reflections on the Everyday

priorhouse blog

Photos, art - and a little bit of LIT.

valeriedavies

Author of The Sound of Water and other books

dunelight

Life in the dunes along Lake Michigan

Pit's Fritztown News

A German Expat's Life in Fredericksburg/Texas

My Life Lived Full

If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space

silkannthreades

about the little things in life

Schwedenlichter

Alltäglich(t) Leichtes, Knirpsbuchwelten

POINT BLANK

...come closer

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Theresa Barker - Lab Notes

sketches in fiction and poetry

WordsVisual

Mostly photographs with some words by this arty scientist...

Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge

ruthfreter

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

pastpastoring

By a Pastor, for Pastors, for church leaders, and for all Christians who love their Church

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Candid Chicana

Chicano Culture, Self-Development & More

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

A Whistling Caravan

Write not to impress others,but to express yourself and inspire others!!!™

PlantsandBeyond

Plant Based Living and Gardening

Alles mit Links.

Ja, Schnecke, besteig den Fuji, aber langsam, langsam! (Issa)

Zimmerbitch

age is just a (biggish) number) NUMBER

Thinking Ahead

Consequences of thinking ahead and remembering the past.

ELIZABETH ANN JOHNSON-MURPHREE

Confessional Fiction, Free Verse Poetry and Prose, Non-Poetry and Art

witlessdatingafterfifty

Relationships reveal our hearts.

Wondering and Wandering

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live! Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow..." --Henry David Thoreau, August 19, 1851

Frau Stich-Schlinge

handGemachtes & allerlei Tüddellütt

birgitdiestarkeblog

What you see is what you get

My Fragmented Narrative

rants and ramblings freshly served

rabbitpatchdiarycom

comfort and joy from my home to yours

mommermom

......one moms journey

Find Your Middle Ground

"Life is a series of highs and lows. Be grateful for the highs. Be graceful in the lows. Enjoy life fully and find contentment in your Middle Ground" Val Boyko

This Much I Know

Exploring life after raising a family

the creative life in between

cherishing the moments and exploring my passion for creativity... through art, photography, food, and writing

Retirementally Challenged

Navigating through my post-work world

Curious Steph

explorations on the journey of living

The Cedar Journal

The adventures of a cedar canoe

Under a Cornish Sky

inspired by the colours of the land, sea and sky of Cornwall

A Quiet Word

Looking for the Light- Reflections on the Everyday

priorhouse blog

Photos, art - and a little bit of LIT.

valeriedavies

Author of The Sound of Water and other books

dunelight

Life in the dunes along Lake Michigan

Pit's Fritztown News

A German Expat's Life in Fredericksburg/Texas

My Life Lived Full

If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space

silkannthreades

about the little things in life

Schwedenlichter

Alltäglich(t) Leichtes, Knirpsbuchwelten

POINT BLANK

...come closer

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Theresa Barker - Lab Notes

sketches in fiction and poetry

WordsVisual

Mostly photographs with some words by this arty scientist...

Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge

ruthfreter

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

pastpastoring

By a Pastor, for Pastors, for church leaders, and for all Christians who love their Church

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

%d bloggers like this: