My teacher Mr. Silverman: The one who made me explain "why"
By Tyler on September 9th, 2010
This is the first in a series of posts from the OOM team looking back at the special teachers who helped shape who we are today.
So many teachers left a mark on my life. My third grade teacher got me so excited about writing stories that I was sure I would one day become an author. My high school comparative religion teacher planted the seeds of curiosity in me that led to my one day becoming a religion major (yes, I was a religion major). And there was one college professor who actually made me believe I was a good writer. Thank you thank you thank you.
The one teacher I want to talk about here though was my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Silverman. He challenged me. He frustrated me (in a good way). And most of all, he showed me that the best kind of learning is learning about things you’re passionate about.
Mr. Silverman made it very clear what he was passionate about — sailing. And, from what I remember, the whole school year involved our class “sailing” from one part of the world to another. Along the way, we learned about different countries and cultures. He turned me into a geography GEEK. I memorized all the state capitols that year, as well as the longest rivers in the world, the highest mountains and the biggest cities. I think that was the year I did a school project on the Matterhorn, and one on the Yangtze River.
Another thing I remember about Mr. Silverman is how essays and homework assignments I would write would always come back to me with the word “WHY” scribbled all over it. He made school hard. And I remember being frustrated, because everytime I thought I had answered “why” he would push me again. How annoying, right?? I think every other sentence I wrote by the end of the year had the word “because” in it.
Fifth grade was also the last year I lived in Massachusetts before my family moved to Florida. And I vividly remember, the day my parents told the school that my sister and I would be leaving at the end of the year, Mr. Silverman brought me out into the hall to ask me what I thought about the prospect of moving 1,500 miles away. Was I excited? Sad? Scared? (As a geography and golfing geek, I was totally jazzed.) It was obvious that he cared about his students.
The next year, Mr. Silverman and I exchanged several letters. I told him all about the classes I was taking in my middle school in Florida, and which ones I liked, and which ones I didn’t. And in his letters in response, I’m sure he asked me, “why?”
(Photo credit: Flickr photo by thanker212)
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