An influential teacher


Call this an unsolicited freewrite :)

Someone asked me a grammar question today. After thinking about it for a moment, I gave them the answer and then the ‘why’ it was the answer popped into my head and I offered that as well. This got me wondering how could a math and science geek remember grammar so well. The answer to that is Miss Joseph, my 7th and 8th grade English teacher.

Miss Joseph ran a very strict class and demanded much from her students. At the same time, she was not harsh or demeaning, but instead could be described as very firm. How demanding was she? As an example, we were required to memorize the list of prepositions (about, above, across, after, against, among, around...) and the forms of the verb ‘To Be’ (am, are, is, was, were...). Then we had to stand before the class and recite the list. If we failed the recitation, we had to write out the list (by hand) 50 times for homework! Then you get to try reciting it again. I wrote out most, if not all, of those lists at least once. Many, MANY years later I can still recall (most) of those lists. She also taught us sentence diagramming. As much as I hated being in her class, I am forever grateful for what she taught us (and there was more than just these examples).

But wait, there’s more! What really impressed me was the fact that she was born in the country of Lebanon and even served in Lebanon’s military. Yet she had absolutely no trace of an accent (at least to me). When I came back to visit her a year or two later, she was the nicest person and genuinely grateful to hear how much I appreciated what I learned in her class.

I have had many very good teachers in time on this earth, but none like Miss Joseph. She will not be forgotten.


Remember: avoid cliches like the plague and don’t never use double negatives!

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