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- Recall one of the best teachers you've had. See all answers
- June 4, 2012 by NotWhoYouThink
- Mrs. Schowalter and the Student Dictionary
Two words a day.
That's all it was: two words a day. And yet, Mrs. Schowalter's Student Dictionary was the bane of seventh and eight grade English students at El Roble Jr. High. And I had her for both years.
The assignment was simple: each school day we would have two words to look up. On loose-leaf, three-hole punched paper, we were to write down their definitions, one word per page. Beneath each word's definitions were were to transcribe two examples of that word used on a sentence (not picked from the dictionary), and then use the word in a sentence ourselves. It was the sort of ongoing assignment that I loathed, and it showed in the quality of my work. And altough she gave me every chance and patiently heard out my excuses describing why the dictionary was never fully complete, Mrs. Schowalter also very carefully repeated what her expectations were, and the consequences of not fulfilling those expectations.
I failed her class my first semester of junior high, and found myself transferred to Mr. Dobb's class, which was apparently much more my speed.
And yes, in those pre-teen years where we were just beginning to learn how to avoid as much schoolwork as possible, that should have been a victory. But it irked me. And after slogging through the following semester in Easy English Street, I asked my parents if I could take Mrs. Schowalter's class in eighth grade.
My father, who I think had been embarrassed by my performance that first semester, hemmed and hawed, and eventually said it was up to her. I didn't press my request too much - it was a strange impulse that I was following, and figured I'd leave it up to fate.
Fate handed me a second Student Dictionary.
It was towards the end of eighth grade when I asked Mrs. Schowalter about that - why she let me back in her class after I had been more trouble than I was worth that first year.
"You had a dictionary in you," she said. "It just needed a little time to get out."