Some History I Don’t Mind Repeating

First semester, African-American history class, white instructor.

For a New Yorker who kind of recently relocated to the south; I was in the Twilight Zone. Mr. C’s eyes pierced through my bewilderment and he had a proper southern accent. It was the cherry on top of my Bible Belt sundae.

I learned more African-American history from him than I did from the first black professor of African-American studies I had back in NY! It amazed me. It also disturbed me until I embraced the phenomenon. 

My head spun from the knowledge he dropped. He knew it. Mr. C would say so in a few of our classes. We all had to laugh because it was true. He was a dream teacher. For me that meant he didn’t read from the text. He lectured like an actor on a stage. Sometimes a soundtrack accompanied the lesson. Other times we watched a movie or documentary. It was always more than educational. He told a story he knew like the back of his hand. Normally I found it a challenge to listen to someone talk for long stretches. Honestly I only got sleepy when I was up late the night before working on an assignment.

Mr. C introduced me to the African-American museum in my neighborhood. It wasn’t too far from the college. Hardly anyone knew it existed. Most of us thought the building was a store house for the local park/sitting area. Shameful I know, but true. Throughout other semesters, my classes went on field trips to the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Holocaust Museum, the Lincoln Memorial and the other attractions of the National Mall in DC, as well as the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Maryland. Mr. C also started an International Society that hosts an annual fair at the college. The first year, he encouraged me to participate and display my jewelry. It was a good move. It’s what propelled me to go back to my first love—design.

Every year come International Festival time, he expects me to take part. I’ve only missed one. Unfortunately due to low funds, I may have to miss it this time. Last year I got recruited in the 11th hour. He was like a proud daddy seeing his kid do something they love. Thanks to Mr. C, and some other friends, I sold most of my pieces. He was one of my biggest cheerleaders.

He would give me articles on other jewelry artists or topics of interest. Mr. C would even put me on the spot in class if I was wearing a piece I made. Or he’d tell me to bring some of my work in to show the class. If there was a scholarship I was eligible for, he reminded me until I handed in my application. I didn’t give the honor society a second thought but he nominated me. After diligent studying, I graduated with honors. I know he was being supportive. And I’m thankful for that experience. 

For the year and a half I had with Mr. C, it didn’t really feel like I was in school when in his classroom. He was caring, supportive, and effortless at relaying information. Social and economic backgrounds didn’t matter in his class. I felt like I was visiting a cool neighbor who reenacted historical events (sometimes in costume), played great music, and had the best stories I ever heard. Stories that I carry with me and retell. Proudly I say, Mr C told me…


The Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet 

Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

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29 thoughts on “Some History I Don’t Mind Repeating

  1. Good teachers don’t just lecture, they educate and inspire. And if they’re really, really good, they stick in your brain for the rest of your days.

  2. What a wonderful piece. Your writing is so clear and engaging. I loved this story of Mr. C, he sounded like a character straight out of an inspiring movie. Good teachers change our lives and really are gems. I found a good blog of a teacher on wordpress just this morning, and now I read this story. I may have not been as confident with writing if I hadn’t been encouraged by my high school teacher–and I could never forget it.

    You were very lucky to have one like Mr. C. =)

    Love & Peace,
    Lila

    1. Thank you very much Lila. I wanted to do him justice. I do feel lucky that he was like teachers I’d see in a movie and wish that I had an experience of knowing. I’m glad to be a part of your serendipitous experience 🙂 I wish all students had inspiring teachers. They make such a huge difference in someone’s life.

  3. GM this is such a powerful post about love, gratitude, and peace. I love how you are paying forward the lovingkindness that Mr. C offered you. You have become his disciple in not just history, but also goodwill. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hey, I never thought of it that way, but you’re right! He’d like that his influence on me is seen by others. But he might also say he didn’t really do anything 🙂 Thank you for reading. As the Care Bears say, “sharing is caring”.

  4. WOW is all I can say about that!!! What a great post about someone who made a difference in your life. I’m going to repost this on my site because I’m all about history teaching!!! Lots of love to you 🙂 Marsha 🙂

    1. Marsha, I’m honored that you reblogged my post! I think it’s important to let those that inspire us know just how special they are. So to find that my appreciation has also touched another teacher is a true blessing. Love & Love back at ya 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on Marsha Lee and commented:
    Look at this unsolicited compliment to a history teacher. Isn’t this just how we teachers wish we always were? I love how he showed his interest in the students – not JUST the subject. Look at the response his interest received!

  6. A rarity among teachers was Mr. C. May the world produce more like him.
    To the person that wrote about Mr. C. I must say that you did yourself proud by writing the note or article or whatever it is supposed to be called. I am a firm believer in complimenting someone to let them know that they are appreciated or loved, or that they look nice. What ever it might be to make that person’s day- lift their spirit or ego. It’ll make you feel good. It is sort of like paying it forward. Niceness always gets a reward, sooner or later.

    1. Thank you. I’m working on letting people know how I feel when I feel it and not waiting for a special occasion. This post was written in response to a Daily Prompt challenge. It seemed like a great way to let the world know how wonderful Mr. C is 🙂

  7. I gotta say I had a lot of bad teachers, teachers who told my mom I was too “sexy”, but what it made me was a better advocate for my son while he was in grade school though high school and even college. I hand picked his teachers and stayed in the classrooms as a volunteer (I’m a teacher, too, but a SAHM). No one was going to ever mistreat my child and I made sure of it!

    1. It sounds like your son was lucky to have you so involved in his academic life. I know my mother wishes she and my father had been present more often. I tell her not to mourn that anymore. Although I know it’s hard for a mother to do. It made me a better student. But let someone bully me…she was all over THAT 🙂

  8. Wow that’s pretty cool, sounds very much like something out of a movies haha! I guess those larger than life characters exist after all. You’re lucky to have enjoyed the time and learning with such a cool guy 🙂

    All the best!

    Rohan.

    1. Yeah there were movie moments plenty of days. I do feel lucky to have that experience. Honestly though, most of my history teachers have been amazing. So I lucked out as I love history and they helped cultivate that love 🙂

  9. I love it when someone says their history teacher was an inspiration. Most students talk use, “long” and “sleepy” to describe their history class. Kudos to Mr C.

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