Thom or Ted

The first year that I taught at Northeast High School was a most challenging year. There were two of us neophytes–Ted Dahlem and myself, Thom Cooper. It was my first year dealing with high school students who proved to be not quite as unmanageable as junior high students but still a “handful.” However, I was determined to be a good high school teacher, employing many of the techniques I had learned from my high school English teacher, Frances Sheely. It was she who had been my inspiration for becoming an English teacher. I remember the beginning of that school year when almost everyone on the faculty knew each other while Ted and I knew no one and awkwardly learned new names and faces as quickly as possible. My department chairman was a man named Bob Rodgers. I looked up to him as he had years behind him and was evidently a master teacher. When, at the end of the year, Bob came up to me and began to compliment me, saying, “You have done such an enviable job this year. I know it was a challenge coming from junior high to high school and facing the daily challenges. I just want you to know that I think you have done an exceptional job, Ted.” Bob Rogers died the next morning in a house fire, and I never was to know whether the compliment was actually meant for me or for Ted Dahlem.

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About bobosbest

I am a 79-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
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One Response to Thom or Ted

  1. arcadian48 says:

    Fascinating story, Thom. I’m sort of surprised that when he said that you didn’t respond “I’m Thom, not Ted.” How bizarre that he died the next morning. I guess I’d better not ever cross you. You have powers I never suspected.

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