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Cadeau column: Appreciating lessons from past teachers

Teri Cadeau

Whenever I find myself bringing forth a random piece of trivia or bit of knowledge, I often think about where that information came from. Where did I learn about X and to whom am I grateful toward for giving me said knowledge?

For example, a few weeks ago I went bowling with a few friends.

Crash! Four of the remaining pins hit the back of the lane. I'd scored a spare. My friends celebrated behind me. I needed to focus on the next frame to make that spare count.

When it was my turn to bowl again, I hooked my arm too far to the left and ended up with a gutterball. Disappointed, I walked back to wait for my ball to return.

"Hey, that's OK. You've got another ball, at least!" a friend said.

"Yeah, but that was the frame that counted toward my spare. Now it'll only be worth 10 points," I said.

"Huh, is that how it works? I guess I never noticed," she replied.

Which made me recall why I happened to know that. Having grown up in an age where digital scorecards did the math automatically for you, I didn't learn about how bowling scores worked until ninth grade.

My math teacher organized a field trip to our local alley. He convinced the owner to turn off all the monitors and passed out paper scorecards before sitting us all down for a quick lesson.

We'd have to keep score ourselves, then at the end of the game, he'd switch on the monitors for a comparison. This really came in handy a few years later when I joined an intramural bowling league in college and it's something I keep in mind to this day.

Now, bowling scores may not be the most practical piece of knowledge that I picked up, but it has stuck around. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought of the people who taught me what I know.

My home economics teacher taught me how to thread a sewing machine. I remember having to do it multiple times before I got it right. But she was very patient with us as my class worked on our windsock project. Without her, the pants I'm wearing would be at least 2 inches too longer.

I know how to use Ctrl+F keys to find a piece of text on a screen thanks to a computer science teacher. The sheriff's report I just edited would have taken twice as long to edit without that particular tip.

Just the other day, someone said to me: "I mean, at least we're not asking you do do something hard, like repeat the quadratic formula from memory."

Immediately, my mind flashed to the song Ms. Peshel taught us to help us memorize that very formula. X equals negative B, plus or minus the square-root of B squared minus 4AC, all over 2A. It was set to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel" and will apparently never leave my mind.

As Teacher Appreciation Week approaches, May 6-10, I encourage everyone to think back about those teachers who left a lasting impression and to show appreciation for those currently making an impact.

And teachers, know that although a student may not show immediate appreciation for your lessons, they can stick around for a lifetime.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. 

(218) 834-2141
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