Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ode to Mr Hanna

Does anyone else remember their favorite teacher?

I had many and immediately Mr Denner and Ms Hanrahan and Mr Dodd come to mind but my very favorite of all was my English/English Lit (yes I did the double) teacher Mr Hanna.

Yes I remember that he didn't make me read the end of All Quiet on the Western Front because I found it too distressing and yes I remember how he always 'complained' that he couldn't read my writing but most of all I remember his passion. And not just his passion for English, his passion for life - he made Shakespeare come alive (and then took us to a real play - at the University of WA no less), he made opera approachable (and yes took us to a real opera - Madame Butterfly), yes yes yes they are all literature based - and I could go on about the debating team and helping me as 'editor' of the first school magazine/year book in a decade and and...

And then when I decided to be a teacher myself and I was working through my degree, I called Mr Hanna and he took me into his classroom - he explained the best and the worst of the job and reignited that passion and self-belief in me again :-)

But Mr Hanna was kind and knowledgeable and never testy, or put you down. He was the kind of teacher who inspired you to do better. And when you reached your peak, to climb higher still. Not through any pressure to be the best, but just for a general passion to 'suck the marrow out of life'.

In all I do well or 'good' in this life, part of the credit will always belong to a long string of teachers, but most of all Mr Hanna. For every book I read, and I usually read copiously, each part of my enjoyment, understanding and assessment, is due to Mr Hanna. That also applies to the books I have written, the journalism bits that I have done, this blog and all other literary ventures yet to come.

I doubt he will ever read this but "Thank you". I know I have said it in person when I visited your class that day, but 10, 15 years later, I both still mean it and I mean it even more so.

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