1st Teaching Moment

I’ll never forget my very first class as a Hyde teacher. It was September of 1977 and I had one foot in the professional world and the other was still stuck in collegiate revelry. In any case, I took over a geography class of wise-cracking and/or indifferent freshmen.
Having no idea what to expect, I gave them a blank map of the US and had them fill in the states. Much to my shock, the most any kid knew was 36, and that’s if you count Manitoba, Siam, Spokane (the state, not the city…..:-), Manila, and Egypt. One kid, Arthur, from Cleveland who came to us on a full scholarship, labeled 2 states and left the rest blank. (I believe that this was the first time that Arthur had ever been more than a 3-block radius away from his neighborhood.) Predictably, those 2 states were Ohio and Maine.
Distraught with pedagogic distress, I took the results into the head of school, pleading for some direction. He looked them over and simply said, “I’d build my course around this student.” (You guessed it: Arthur). Floored by his suggestion, I asked him to explain. He replied, “He seems to be the only kid in the class who has a firm idea of where he’s coming from and where he’s at.”
I gave the same test a week later and Arthur got 46 of them and went on to graduate from Hyde with Honors. Great kid.
The Fun Continues, Malcolm Gauld