Travels With Walter
An Educator's Life
"Was I a late bloomer, have I a learning disability or am I just
not be the brightest bulb in the circuit, 'that is the question.' "
Chapter 1 The Early Years
Lived in Kingston-
My first day at Kingston Elementary School was memorable because Freddie Done would not stop crying. Fred lived up the street and his mom helped my mom with housework. Fred was a little different and didn’t last long in school. Years later I would see his picture on page three of the Boston Globe. Seems he was the first male arrested for prostitution in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Mrs. Hardy, pulled the hair of anyone talking many of us got a haircut
Nancy’s brother Ralph was the sixth grade gang leader of Kingston Elementary School. Gangs were much friendlier in those days. Members were too old for swings and sea saws and if there weren't any sports going on, older guys hung around away from the other children. I lost track of Ralph. Many years later I noticed his older sister Barbara on classmates.com. Retired in Florida, she reported that Nancy had died a number of years earlier and Ralph was working in a gas station. We communicated a bit but stopped when I showed no interest in helping her drive her new Cadillac Escalade to New England.
Shortly after graduating from college I got to know Nancy's father Tommy. A loud and outspoken man, he joined our Friday night poker game and started betting like crazy and with little rhyme or reason. It was a successful game until he began playing on a regular basis. The game would eventually dissipate.
I worked summers during high school and college for Tom’s brother Paul. Already a successful businessman, like Tommy, he was uneducated. Paul began his economic life as a laborer digging clams out of Gray's Beech mud flats. Paul success came a little faster than the other Turlock's as it took only one lifetime to become one of Kingston's wealthiest citizens.
My parents lived on Main Street and Paul lived a short distance down Rocky
near Gray's beech. Alan, his only son, was my age and we would become lifelong friends.
Not interested in academics, high
meant working full-time for his old-school Italian father. By his mid-twenties,
Alan had correctly determined
that this all-to-typical father-son work relationship would not work. So he
moved to Springfield, Massachusetts.
Alan, who has three very successful sons, is now retired from ATT and works
full time as a security
guard for Springfield Collage.
An Educator's Life
Chapter 5 Applying to Graduate School
A Worker's Life
Chapter 1 As Kids We Worked a Lot
e-mail Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, suggestions and additions.
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Dennis lived up the street from my parents' home. His father was a laborer, his mother a domestic. The family of six lived in a small not well taken care of rented house. A tragedy hit when Bobby, the oldest, accidently hung himself. His mother, Mrs. B, as she would later become effectually known by our gang of four, was devastated. After time under mental care and separated from the family, she eventually was able to cope with life's greatest tragedy. Mr. B. was the easiest tempered male ever created. The family economic situation dramatically improved and Mr. B built his family a home which seemed to get bigger and bigger over the many years I would visit my second family.
Dennis left school at sixteen, became a parrot trooper and landed in a fish pond during the Dominican Intervention. He began his economic life as a truck driver for Marshfield Sand and Gravel. Working weekends for his dad as a mason's helper, Dennis learned the masonry business and eventually started doing his own jobs. Over the years he built a small, successful business. Possessing a very high interpersonal intelligence, Dennis would become our gang of four wealthiest members. Retiring early, Dennis and his $30,000 Harley now tour all over the country. His wife takes care of the homestead, and his son runs Bent and Son.
Economically, Kingston's Turlock families were a mixed bag with some doing very well and some not so well. Education played almost no role in making their lives better. Income standard deviation was high!
Kids Don’t Search for Pollywogs Any More
My second grade teacher Mrs. Shea was non-descript and every term she gave me D's in reading and language..
Mom collected books containing many pictures. I put pictures from one of mom’s books into a third grade history report entitled "The Crusades." The report, and to some degree my mother, was criticized by Mrs. Polland. She felt pictures in a report were inappropriate. Parents helping children with schoolwork was not a beneficial 1953 educational practice. Photoshop was many years away.
Fourth grade brought Mrs. Loutz, one of my favorite teachers. During school, she allowed me and two other boys go to a small shallow pond near the playground and collect pollywogs, their eggs, and other materials for our science projects. We made a few trips and took our time because playing in the pond was more fun than school work.
Mrs. Loutz had a significance effect on my life. At a parent-teacher conference she reported “Walter was a very average student.” My dad, an engineer, saw nothing wrong with being average and this was hardly a revelation, after eight straight terms of D's in reading and language. As a result, I didn’t have to compete with my oldest brother Richard, who would be inducted into our high school honor society and graduate from Northeastern University, my older brother Stanley, who would become a college professor and a member of Mensa, and my younger sister Alma, a high school valedictorian and Phi Beta Kappa college graduate in mathematics with a Master’s degree from Harvard University.
My fifth grade teacher Miss. True was young, attractive, and a great softball
One day I hit a softball right off her chest. Me, I was stunned, she threw me
out by a mile.
Education in a World of Multiple Intelligences
I found elementary school academically difficult. Good grades in arithmetic,
in science and history, and poor grades in reading, spelling, and language.
Reading out loud
was my biggest worry and spelling a close second. I couldn’t pronounce many of
words when reading to my group and hated the awkward seconds it took for a group
to help. As for spelling, forget it. I always missed the first word and sat
down. I wonder if just sitting while the game continued affected me. Thankfully,
my national reading comprehension scores were about two years above grade and I
realized, even then,
I might have been dumb, (as in verbally challenged), but I wasn't stupid.
I often helped Mr. Barrows after school and he would
a ride home.
Mrs. Polland was always with us. Was something going on? Interesting
thought for an eleven-year old.
Mr. Barrows attended our 1962 Silver Lake Regional High School graduation. I didn’t give him a proper thank you and it bothered me for many years. Just a quick hello and I was off to celebrate. About 15 years later I sent Mr. Barrows a proper thank you note and a newspaper publicity story about an evening school I was building with Franklin Pierce College. He sent me a similar news article stating that he had been an elementary school principal, had taught a number of years for a private school in Lebanon, and after a return stint in the U.S., he was off to teach at a private school in Hawaii. Years later I traced him down through one of his old friends a this friend arranged a surprise luncheon at which I gave him a copy of my Test-Prep Mathematics book. It was appropriately dedicated to my sixth grade teacher. I also found out that Daria, who had played a princes in our sixth grade play, was his favorite student. Can you take back a book dedication?
Later I would realize that mathematics was my special academic intelligence and help was available from people with special verbal intelligence and other things I couldn’t do very well. Things like French, which I attempted to learn as a high school freshman. My older brother Stanley was in class for a second try and our neighbor Peter was in for a third try. Neither lasted a week. My French grade of D took much more time than my B grades in Algebra. The course was not a complete loss as I sat next to Pat, a most beautiful sophomore who I pined over until she graduated. She, it turns out, was a National Merit Scholar! Maybe some rubbed off? Pat became a teacher.
These experience and others resulted in my theory on Education in a World of Multiple Intelligence. It is part of my Quick Notes Philosophy. This philosophy begins with my thoughts on the layout and content used in my books written using Quick Notes Learning System. It also contained my thoughts on applying Multiple Intelligences to the educational process. Quick Notes Learning System Internet books are free. My adult evening college students bought the paper copies. Others bought them so all first printing copies were sold. About 700 paper copies are left from the third printing of the statistics. Interested, E-mail Walter.
One evening about fifteen years ago in a statistics class an attractive young women wearing a Red Sox cap came up at break from the last row to thank me for helping her realize that her special intelligence was writing and that having trouble with courses requiring mathematics did not make her “stupid.“ No, astute enough to read my philosophy at the front of her book and knowing enough to thank me made her anything but stupid or average!
Four class members attended Sunday School. Years later Alan and I would be asked to take a week off because of late arrivals; we never returned.
Many teachers think education is about developing both
mathematical and verbal intelligence. These teachers think a high school senior
with B grades in Calculus and Advanced English Composition did better than one
with an A in one and a C in the other. I think it's about helping students find
and develop their special intelligence. Math, verbal, interpersonal ...,
What education attributes would you look for when hiring three people to help a friend with a difficult situation? You need a doctor to save them from a serious accident related injury that received a lot of negative publicity. You feel a doctor, lawyer and publicists are needed. I would not be looking for well-rounded people. I would not be looking for people who got B grades in everything. I want A grades in key areas and could care about other grades. I want a great surgeon who may or may not be well liked or literate, a great lawyer who may or may not be have done well in mathematics, and a great communicator, a people person who may or may not care if about Shakespeare or relativity.
Seventh grade brought many new friends at Silver Lake Regional High School. It serviced 5 towns that would produce a graduating class of over 140 students. Miss Goldman was my English teacher and as usual, I earned C's and D's. Young and attractive, she often talked about her local corrections officer boyfriend, her family place on Cape Cod, and that she had recently graduated from LSU with a master’s degree. Twenty years later, after I interviewed for a mathematic teaching position at Silver Lake, we talked in the faculty lounge. Attractive as ever, she seemed amazed about how much of her personal life she had communicated to our class. I guess what teachers communicate to their students changes over time? Most experienced teachers complain that students have changed, maybe its teacher who change. Miss Goldman never married and eventually became chairperson of Silver Lake’s junior high English Department. Is she with us?
Melvin Cherry was well-behaved in elementary school. In junior high he was out of control. While racing down a school corridor chasing Karen Everson, who was not yet the beauty she would become, Melvin crashed into my former forth grad teacher Mrs. Loutz, who was now a guidance counselor. The result was not good. Her hip was broken. She aged substantially during her long covalence. Melvin was shipped off to private school and I imagine Karen grew up more quickly. What ever happened to our junior high version of Bonnie and Clyde?
Always slow to develop, I didn’t become a disciplinary
terror until in ninth or tenth grade. Nothing serious, just behavior that earned
me many two-hour detentions. One beautiful late November day, sitting in
detention, I decided to stop said behavior and I did! I had only two more
Upon graduation Ben went to U. Mass Amherst, really didn't want to be there, flunked out, and spent four beneficial years working in Air Force medical supply management. Having made the world safe, Ben returned to U. Mass, graduated, worked for a company or two, went to work for a business supply wholesaler, and then with wife Susan, opened Barclay's Business Products. Recently retired, their biggest problem is deciding which of next year's cruises should be extended, choosing a retirement location, and deciding whether they should also keep their current Hingham, Massachusetts home.
While my behavior improved, I didn’t become
Little Lord Fauntleroy. Michael McGlone and I just couldn’t stop talking
in our history class. Mike, who would become our senior class president,
was a very jovial slacker. He is a good example of why my school grades
were so average. Why? I discovered he had a photographic memory when he
was the student star of a school assembly featuring a memory expert. A
bunch of us volunteered to participate in a memory contest. Why I
volunteered to go up on the stage is beyond me. "Stupid is as stupid
does!" We were given a few seconds to
Many years of teaching accounting revealed
that quite a few students have extremely good memories; they were in
effect, taking open book tests. One such student could have embarrassed
me, as if I could be embarrassed! Because of an emergency, I was asked
to teach Intermediate Accounting II for Bentley College. Intermediate
Accounting is by far the most difficult accounting subject to learn and
to teach second semester, never having taught first semester, could have
been a disaster. On a number of occasions, a photographic memory
student corrected me on what was usually a minor point. He would say
"but on page 143 it says ..." The class would look back and sure enough,
he was correct. Interestingly, the class figured out that his analytical
ability was average and their teacher was good at explaining difficult
concepts (the answer book helped!). Said student found applying basic
accounting concepts to word problems difficult. He earned an A- but I
gave him an A. Why cause problems. Bentley College had a comprehensive
student evaluation system and I did very well in this class. But
Bentley was moving up the college prestige ladder and MBA's
teaching for them would become a thing of the past. Too bad, so sad, I
could have used the money. Questions: does an
outstanding memory hinder the development of analytical skills? Beyond
the basics, should our educational system change from learning the
answer to a teacher's questions to students investigating personal areas
of interest, determining relevant questions, and then answering these
I visited with them in the mid-nineties. Both were recovering from bypass surgery. This was of interest because Mike’s mother and some of his siblings were of poor health, something I learned while visiting a number of times at their small, summer camp like family home. Mike was using public funds to attend college part time in hopes of earning a teaching degree. About ten years later, Mike attended our 45th class reunion. I was very sorry to hear that Chickee had passed, not much else had changed. Later Northeastern University sold an MBA degree to me and many engineers working on "route 128." After year one of a three year program, they increased tuition by fifty percent. Few students cared because they had company reimbursed tuition. For me, it was price gouging. I was trying to pay off a college loans at $53 per month, a 1967 red triumph car loan at $64 per month and the increase in Northeastern monthly bill to $120 was noticed.
A disaster resulted from my gab fest with Michael. We would be separated and I was awarded Mr. Parks, who was legendary for his homework, authoritarianism, and Mr. Barclay's good friend. I walked into my new class and saw very bright students like Alton, Dana, and Daria who had pushed me to the bottom of my elementary school classes and my junior high classes. I realized academic profiling was alive and well and I was in trouble.
Mr. Parks made two statements guaranteeing I would not be a problem. “ We do one oral reports in this class and yours is tomorrow. We do four written book report per year in this class and the first of your four is due next Friday." The fact it was the beginning of second term did not seem to matter as the boss does not have to understand and or apply proportional analysis. I was in Deep Do-Do or D-Cubed for short. Made it through, earned a B or B-. I can't remember if it was Mr. Parks who required me to read 1944, but if it was, thanks! I wonder if assigning me to Mr. Parks was random, or another attempt to help me grow up. Is Mr. Parks with us?
Mr. Parks was not the only superior teacher to walk the halls of Silver Lake. Mr. Heufelder was a photo copy of Mr. Parks. A war veteran, who we thought must have fought for the Germans, he had a wooden leg that squeaked as he patrolled our chemistry class. His loud voice scared almost everyone except John Delano and me. We went crazy trying not to laugh at his squeaky leg.
I studied more than usually in chemistry because my younger sister Alma was in Mr. Heufelder's advanced placement chemistry class. I got an A- term one, lower than Alma's grade, but enough to continue my belief that my forth grade teacher Mrs. Loutz was incorrect. Mr. Heufelder gave us a long and difficult Christmas vacation problem assignment. I copied Alma’s. This made my B or B- grade goal easier to achieve. Is Mr. Heufelder still with us ?
Note the days off. I was not sickly, just
didn't like school.
Anyone who tries to compete
Walter dressed up like a Polak while Rui and Alan were the Two Amigos
No one has ever proven a strong correlation between grades and income. SAT tests, yes. Graduating from a prestigious school, yes.
Learning from Life Experience
Paul was one of Silver Lake's best athletes. A star football player, he was also a good baseball player. According to Howard Gardner, Paul's Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence was high. His Interpersonal Intelligence was off the charts. It made Paul one of those unique, special people. Together with Pam, his bride of many years raised three wonderful children who produced many grandchildren. This intelligence helped him succeed at a unionized manufacturing job where he became a foreman and provided very well for his family. With the kids grown and producing children who would adore Grandpa Paul, Paul found himself trying to convince his unionized crew to accept a major work place change. They wouldn't, the company moved, Paul decided not to follow, and unemployed resulted. High interpersonal intelligence help Paul find a new job with many golfing perks. Why, because the owner really liked Paul. Academically average, Paul would have made a great elementary school physical education teacher, especially since he did not have any of the alpha male personality traits that sometimes make athletes poor physical education teachers. But all elementary school teachers must have above average academic intelligence. Society's loss. Society tries to destroy the spirit of academically average males who are not interested in academics. Would Paul have succeeded in today's testing envirnment? Does a bear poop in the woods?
A few years after graduation, Paul became very good friends John Montosi. Years later Paul organized an overnight golf weekend in central Maine. I attended and got to know Mr. Montosi well over the ten or so years we played in the tournament. He revealed a strong Alpha male personality which given his average height, made his outstanding success as high school basketball player and college and football understandable.
Alton started being physically aggressive toward me with paunches on the shoulder, pinching, and other dominating behavior. My summer boss Paul was a pincher and I hated it. But I needed Paul's paycheck, Alton's aggression, not so much. Finally he did it in front of a few other cafeteria monitors, I got really angry and I insisted we have it out in the gym. Football coach Montosi gave us some really big boxing gloves, had his current gym class form a circular boxing ring, and said knock the other guy out of the ring. Two out of three wins. I'm sure that Mr. Montosi recognized Alton as a school tennis team player, it is unknown whether he remembered me as one of the chubby kids who was not coordinated enough, and not strong enough, to clime the ropes in his gyp class. It was obvious that Mr. Montosi thought that Alton, the more athletic, would win. But I was mad, Alton was not mad, and I easily won round one. Alton was now more upset so it took a while, but I won round two. Coach Mortise very, very quickly said three out of five, but it was over. I was no longer upset and had known before fighting that no matter what happened, I couldn't loose. Alton would stop, that was my goal. I don't do suckers bets by allowing pressing of equal value!
Alton married classmate June, who was also in Mr. Park's history class. He took some accounting classes at Bentley College, and eventually decided to make his fortune by sub-contracting the construction of large homes. June became a manager for a major upscale department store. After building his own dream home, Alton decided to retire very early and move to Cape Cod. Retirement didn't last long and he became a manager for the Christmas Tree Company.
College, “you don’t have to go, but you must have the option”
In January of 1913. I watched a C-Span
Book Notes book signing where a women showed extreme exuberance when the author
mention an increase in the marginal income tax rate to seventy-five percent. She
didn't realize that if allowed to continue, talented medical doctors, scientist,
innovators, and others would leave France and the tax revenue would be .75 times
zero. She reacted the same way to a large increase in the education budget even
though data is emerging that France has a very poor education system. People
thinking government can use education to solve income inequality problems while
ideas concerning economic productivity are doing so at society's peril.
I definitely needed a comb over.
Team Sports Teach Through Life Experiences
I applied to the University of Massachusetts, Maine's Nasson College, and
College where my older brother Stanley and his good friend Charlie were sophomores. I really didn’t want to attend Massachusetts because they required a foreign language. Good thing because I wasn't accepted, even though my 500+ SAT verbal and 600+ SAT math scores from senior year were substantially higher than some of my accepted friends accepted. Maybe they observed my dumb side (verbal) and didn't care that I wasn't stupid. I decided to attend Marietta. Great decision! Maybe they want students with two B grades.
Question, has our flat world decreased the economic return from investing in college for all but our brightest, most ambitious young people. Should federal aid now given to the very average students be instead added to that given to our best and brightest students?
And Now the Rest of the Story
My positive experience with testing is important because it communicated I was testing two years above grade both mathematically and verbally. To me this meant that I was doing well and whatever my teachers were measuring was not important. I do not know the how much my father's statement that being average was OK but I didn't feel average and over the years the grade level tests indicated to me I above average, even in geometry where most of the test takers were above average c college-prep kids. Testing all kids are college-prep and testing accomplishing the opposite by making kids with average and above average grades feel inferior. Maybe they should be compared with kids in their grade, their school, even their state but not some learning level determined by the academics of the world. Maybe these academics are the same are today's version of my second, third and fourth grade teachers! see The_Story_of_Joan
Go to chapter 2 Not all College Students are Created Equal
|I wasn't sure it was Paul
in the team captains
photo so for protection
from Pam, I put in an extra.
Walter in ?