And "the rest" as they say "is history"...
I was talking today, ironically, to someone who edits textbooks. Ironically, I say, because although I've talked to this man on several occasions, this is the first time we've really spoken in-depth and after voicing a few of my opinions about teaching and teachers...found out what his present vocation is.
He started by asking me if I ever watched a certain show on HBO...and I remarked that mainly I watch AMC, TCM and The History Channel. The latter being the last bastion of documentary television since TLC and Discovery have, unfortunately, segued into the realm of reality TV. Then from there I got on the topic of how I probably never would have been interested in history at all without the intervention and innovation of my 8th grade History teacher, Phil Marder. Mr. Marder...if you are out there...and I Googled you the other day and couldn't find anything on you...I would like to take this opportunity to say "thank you...you made History...one of the most misunderstood and maligned of subjects...interesting".
Oh...sure, we all cringed and thought he was corny with his "Where are you heading? Bering Strait." and "Sideburns...Burnside" remarks...and countless others of that ilk...but to this day I still remember their significance. I also remember the films he used to "sneak in"...oh, he'd be fired in a heartbeat if he showed them today. Let's say they were less than acceptable, by today's standards...films he "procured" by, as he always asserted, by a friend who worked at Washington DC's National Archives Building...excerpts I don't think they'd even dare show on The History Channel. Graphic footage of mutilated Mussolini and his mistress, the Holocaust, and more were shown to us...and to the best of my knowledge, since they continued...and he continued teaching...no one complained. We were appalled...but morbidly, like that horrific roadside accident we've all passed, we crooked our collective necks and watched. And because of a grisly fascination and roll-your-eyes "Welcome Back, Kotter" approach...history became something not just to read in some boring old book...but something tangible that everyone experiences at one time or another.
I've had only one other teacher who actually truly influenced and inspired me...my High School English teacher, Tom Bauer. But for now I'll leave the writing of my past and the writing of my present to the future...and talk about him and how one teacher can make a difference...in a subsequent blog.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".
23 September 2006
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