This is an old post but when I read it I could not resist the chance to talk about an English Teacher I had a long, long time ago.
In 1958 - Sputnik was Launched - Elvis was Drafted into the Army - The Ford Edsel was Introduced - Packard Automobiles Ceased Production - The Worst Recession Since the Great Depression - The Brooklyn Dogers Moved to LA -Postal Rates Went Up for the first time since 1932 - September 8, 1958 I meet Mrs. Rita K. Dent AKA the Old Witch.
Mrs. Rita K. Dent was my English teacher in the ninth grade, and she was the meanest teacher that I had ever had. Hey I was 14 years old and had spoken English all my life, I could even read and write English. I knew that English was a required subject for each year from 9th through 12th grade, but I never knew that a teacher could make a subject a tool of torture. She made us read a book a month and submit a written and oral report, we had vocabulary lists to memorize including meanings and spellings, we had to conjugate verbs, she did not permit any slang or cool language in her class room and the worst thing she made us do was to diagram sentences (for more information on this go to http://www.ateg.org/grammer/tips/t16.pdf
). I had to work harder in her class than I ever did before, just to get an average grade, and was never so happy to see a school year end as I was when I was finally through with Mrs. Rita K. Dent, and I told her what I thought about her.
I had no problem with 10th and 11th grade English, did not work hard and got excellent grades.
AH MY LAST YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL, LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL. I walked into my assigned English class dreaming about the beautiful young teacher I had signed up for, and Mrs. Rita K. Dent was standing there, and said with a smile "Welcome back Mr. Slayman, shall we take up where we left off?" I thought I was going to die, the beautiful young English teacher I had wanted, did not have enough room in her class so I got Mrs. Dent AGAIN, this was the only year she taught 12th grade. I survived, and though I have forgotten how to diagram a sentence, I still intuitively know when something is wrong with a sentence. The funniest thing is the older I get the more I appreciate what Mrs. Rita K. Dent did for me. I took her out to dinner several years ago told her that she was THE GREATEST TEACHER I ever had. Sometimes, "eating a little crow" is good for the soul.
By the way College English was a snap, I wonder why?