|Teaching Requires a lot of Work.||
e-mail Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, suggestions and additions.
My $5,500 teaching contract with NEAI required my being a proctor in the newly constructed male dormitory in return for free room and board.
Preparing teaching notes for Accounting I, Economics I, Statistics I and Aviation Management took up all of my time. All day Sunday was spent taking notes for Monday and Tuesday lectures. Wednesday was off. Monday through Wednesday was spent taking notes for Thursday and Friday classes. I didn’t cover as many chapters as I would in future years but the students seemed happy.
I enrolled in the November trimester of Northeastern University’s MBA evening program because keeping my job required an advanced degree. First year sequence courses had started in September so I signed up for upper level courses. No one seemed to mind. Receiving my degree required I take Graduate Record Exams but at no specified time. Requiring them made the program look more respectable. It’s about the money.
Teaching my first class was a traumatic experience. Four month earlier I had been cutting Mary’s 8 AM accounting class and now I was in charge of students only four years younger than myself. Nerves got the best of me and I thought a student in the class named Patrick Moriarty was my cousin. Really! I managed to calm down and generally was not nervous talking to the class.
Patrick, who would become a lifelong friend, was a through back, rough around the edges, but not too tough Irishman whose father owned a very successful bar near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He had an almost new Ford Mustang that made him popular. He bailed me out one January day when my 1967 TR4A would not start. Like many students of that day, his parents had searched high and low for a school that would provide a military deferment. He graduated in two years, transferred to Nasson College where he studied for two more years but was not awarded a degree. He left Nasson and went to a tractor trailer driving school. Always employed, Pat usually worked two jobs. His brother, a CPA living in New Rochelle, New York invested Pat’s savings wisely and he became a millionaire who could buy and sell me a few times over.
Richard Courtemanche was another of my first class students. Mr. everything at NEAI, he arranged for some basketball games between our school, which had about twelve seniors and seventy freshman and a few local CYO teams. I coached the team along with Peter Muse, our twenty-six year old English teacher who was the other proctor in the dorm. Every year Peter had to appear before his draft board and defend his request for a teaching deferment. My annual letter was accepted without question. I talked with Peter twenty plus years later and he was teaching high school English in southeastern Massachusetts.
Upon graduation, Richard transferred to what is now Southern New Hampshire University, graduated, went to work for IBM, served as Chairman of SNHU Board of Trustees and now retired, he continues to serve on the board.
And Now the Rest of the Story
Pat from the first class became a lawyer.
Being a dorm proctor wasn’t much work. The kids were great during the week and with Peter and me leaving them somewhat un-chaperoned during weekends gave them a little space. The founders lived within a few miles and wanting to be involved, were around a lot on weekends. Also, the school’s career orientation resulted in there being fewer disciplinary problems than found in liberal arts colleges. Vietnam waiting for those with too many social problems didn’t hurt.
I did avert one possible catastrophe. About three in the morning I smelled smoke. Our resident English student Peter had fallen asleep with a cigarette smoldering. No harm, no foul.
Year Two brings my first apartment
The school now had almost two hundred students and as Dean of Men I could handle the almost nonexistent social problems, more dormitory supervision was needed. An apartment had been added to the NEAI dormitory and the new college President, retired Air Force General Harrison Thyng, hired a cook and his wife to run the kitchen, live in the apartment, and supervises the dormitory. The general decided to pay only free room to proctor the dorm so I rented a small one room apartment in down town Nashua. “How small was it! It was so small…” the shower was located in the living room/bedroom closet.
I decided to celebrate the day one of my first apartment by going out to dinner. Walking home I automatically started into a small store to buy beer. Just as I reached for the door handle, it came to me that buying a six pack would mean a six pack a day for the rest of my life. I refrained and it would be over twenty-years before I would drink when the next day required getting up for work. Within a few weeks I joined three guys living in a trailer.
NEAI’s first Academic Dean was Dr. SanSoucie, an elderly man with a French accent. His supposed PhD was from the Suborn, in Paris, France and in spite of his age, he spent much of his time flirting with our female students. His success rate was unknown.
Dr. SanSoucie was a great story teller and students loved his classes. Psychology was their favorite because he hypnotized students during class and tried to teach students how to hypnotize people. A student named John was having some success so as Dean of Men; I put a stop to the entire process.
General Thyng came to NEAI after an unsuccessful N.H. governor’s campaign. The most decorated war hero in the State’s history, he had been a fighter pilot in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
An unusually serious dorm problem called for a heart to heart talk with the dorm population and the 5”5” General was in charge. You could hear a pin drop as the General walked into the crowded classroom to address forty five scared young men. Peter and I were scared too. Small in stature, he had complete command of everyone in the room. The talk was brief he reached a loud crescendo by shouting “I’ve killed better men than you.”
Weekends usually meant a trip to the Kingston for time with the gang of four; I often stopped in Chelmsford to visit Susan and arrived at my parents about midnight. One night was different because about fifteen minutes after arriving, the neighbor’s dog was making enough nosy for me to go outside to see what was causing the disturbance. “I saw nothing, nothing.”
Year two of my MBA was coming to an end and with a light load requiring only two nights per week coming in the fall; I suggested to General Thyng that NEAI offering evening classes. He wasn’t really interested, but said I could use a classroom and use my own money to advertise the courses. Two adults from town and two day students looking for something to do signed up for two classes. It was the start of NEAI’s successful evening division.
A more formal evening program was planned and I turned down part-time management of the program because there was more extra money from teaching and I really enjoyed the classroom experience. NEAI was on a trimester plan and I was allowed to teach two classes per term. The amount I earned equaled about one-third my annual salary. Pay per course went from $500 to $600 and back to $500 where it stayed for a few years.
And Now, the Rest of the Story.
NEAI was growing rapidly, a more professional atmosphere was being developed, and Dr. SanSoucie didn’t return. A few years later a WBZ radio promo caught my attention. A Dr. SanSoucie from somewhere in West Virginia would be the guest and his 2 AM talk would be on Parapsychology. I set the alarm and sure enough the Doctor was spinning the same yarn he had spun at NEAI.
At a twenty year reunion organized by the first two or three graduating classes, Harvey, an alumnus that loved N.Y Knicks basketball and enjoyed an outstanding career playing for Coach Antoniott’s NEAI basketball team, revealed the reason for the year two dog barking disturbance. It seems a number of students had followed me to Kingston with hopes of stealing a copy of next week’s finals stored in my briefcase. Apparently they had tried unsuccessfully at school and were continuing their efforts. He talked about waiting hours in Chelmsford, the dog barking, it was a true story. Harvey graduated, went into sales where his Interpersonal Intelligence led him to a successful career. He was most proud of a son who had do was attending Fairly Dickenson University.
Not managing NEAI’s evening division may have been a life changing decision, especially with their connection to the military. Eight years later I would take control of an evening division for another school and have some success. But having an eight year head start building a program for a school with an educational philosophy I really believed in might have led to a much different life line.
Years Three to Four brought more female students, faculty and buildings.
The school moved into Daniel Webster Hall, a two story brick faced wooden structure containing classrooms, a much larger library, administrative and faculty offices, and a cafeteria. It was only about one hundred yards from the men’s dormitory and plans were under way for a women’s dormitory.
NEAI was one of seven schools across the United States participating in an FAA training air traffic controller program. Recruiting for twenty slots with guaranteed jobs was selective and some really outstanding young men and women enrolled.
This very successful program is a perfect example of the success which results when education is combined with career application.
Year three also brought more students and better teachers. Jane Solomon would be the second full time business teacher. She had graduated third in her class from the University of Minnesota where she had also earned an MBA. Jane would teach non-quantitative courses.
Dr. Lowman, the new academic dean, was young and seemed a little too friendly with the female population, which was now large enough to have their own dorm. Me, I was so afraid of having problems with female students that I was still meeting advisees in the library. My small office excuse was a cover because there was no way I was advising female students a few years younger than me in a private location. Female students shine up to their male teachers and at their age, I felt it could be trouble.
I had finished my MBA program without making the Dean’s list which I had defined as not earning a C grade during the program. Marketing I did me in. It was an unusual course as the professor would open the class with a few remarks, then a student would manage the class discussion exploring that night’s case, and then the professor would make a few closing remarks. In effect, the students taught his class. I really liked the class, worked hard, and was surprised at receiving a C grade. I had earned quite a few A’s so my first low grade was not a problem. Finally, I thought, a professor that counted spelling. When asked before the first Marketing II class, the professor said the C grade was awarded because I had flunked class participation. Preparing and lecturing five day classes and two overload evening classes for NEAI plus preparation for two MBA classes left me in no mood to participate, especially while he sits on his pooper. Given my personality, I’m surprised I didn’t blow up. Should my Marketing II A grade makes me feel good about the value of my cumulative MBA grade point average? Marketing III was my last class. The marketing department, being the dedicated hard working group that they were, decided to have a regular class the night allotted for the final exam and give the final the following Saturday morning. I am pleased to report that Northeastern University is now less than half the size it was when I graduated in 1969 and as a result, a few marketing teachers lost their ten year positions.
About this time the General called me into his office and asked if I was teaching somewhere else. In a panic I answer “no.” He said OK and I left. Needless to say I was one nervous twenty-five year old. He left school shortly thereafter and my confession had to wait until the next morning. He arrived about 7:45 and was nervous! His response to my confession was “Well, you’ve voided your contract,” the pause seemed to go on forever and then he said, “have them make up a new one allowing you to teach for other institutions.” Actually he was setting me up for next year’s small year.
The other institution was Suffolk University, the course was Economics, and the place was the North Andover Western Electric Plant. My class was the first of a pilot program as colleges were not yet teaching at industrial plants. A few weeks later I found out General Thyng’s source. My aunt Helen, who worked in Oklahoma for Western Electric, had sent my mom a copy of her company magazine and there I was the center piece of a four page article.
And Now the Rest of the Story
Dr. Lowman didn’t last long as Academic Dean. No one was really sure whether it was the young girls or the young boys that most interested him. His replacement, Dr. M, was retired Colonel with a PHD in physics from Ohio State. He would be a more traditional and successful and the last affective dean I would see during my travels.
One lesson I learned from years of watching Northeastern University was how economically important it is for a college to limit ten-year positions. It took x years to earn ten-year at Northeastern and few new faculty would make it. Instead, new low paid replacements were found.
Living in Newton
My brother Stanley had earned his Master’s Degree in Economics from Lehigh University and was looking for housemates to live in Newton, Massachusetts. Living ten miles from Boston was appealing so I became the forth.
One housemate was Johnny C. who had had just earned a Master’s Degree in History from Lehigh and was entering BU Law. A Mickey Mantle look-a-like who held the University of New Hampshire home run record, he had been an accounting/history major. John had just earned his Master’s degree in History from Lehigh.
John had job working night and weekends loading baggage for the Mohawk Airlines at Logan Airport. I was also busy as Northeastern and NEAI took up four nights and on weekends I often visited Ben who was out of the Air Force and finishing at U. Mass Amherst. It would be a January snow storm before John and I would get together at Uncle Art’s and learn that we had much in common. John, very conservative, returned home one late morning still fuming because a bomb threat probably caused by undergraduate antiwar students had resulted in class being dismissed early and his other classes canceled.
Our last roommate was Marietta College fraternity brother Charlie Paris. He had extended his Navy tour to serve in Vietnam and was also attending BU Law. It didn’t take long for Charlie to become unhappy with school. The antiwar attitude at BU took a few months to ware on Charlie and he quit school.
Charlie’s place was taken by Carl Beck, a friend of John’s from his UNH days and a Boston University MBA student. Carl’s personality can best be described by a visit to our house from the Newton Fire Department. Carl had used our hibachi on the front porch and thinking the coals were out, emptied it on the wooden floor and left. The result was a round hole burned through the floor. Carl’s graduated and his place was taken by Dick, John’s UNH friend and fellow baseball player who had recently completed his military tour. He was looking for construction work in hopes of becoming a subcontractor.
And Now the Rest of the Story
Charlie got a job selling computer software in St Louis and attended the St. Louis University MBA program where he liked the attitude of evening students so much that he returned to Massachusetts, earned a Suffolk University J.D. and practiced law for many years.
Carl had a photographic memory, passed the CPA exam on the first try in spite of only having had accounting courses through Intermediate Accounting II, worked for a Boston securities firm and after a few years returned to Maine and worked for his family’s roofing company. John heard that Carl died many years ago.
Carl is not the first academically successful person to ignore his educational achievements when settling in on a career. Lloyd from my college days earned a master's in electronically engineering and went into the boutique business. Both spent six years of time and money and received a minimal economic return. Education for education sake was OK for them as financing was not a serious problem. Today, far too many students with very average ability are borrowing a lot of money for an investment that will not pay much of an economic return.
I believe Carl and I would have achieved whatever success we managed without college but for opposite reasons, Carl possessed unlimited of academic ability while I had a memory disability that made traditional academic success difficult. My personality was consistent with that of most MBA students while Carl’ personality was not consistent with his academic accomplishments. Career application of education was given little attention then and it is given little consideration today.
For some unknown reason, John didn’t like paying tolls on his trips to BU and Logan Airport. Today, with TV cameras, he could not play his little game. He got caught a few times and I never figured out if he saved much money. Why the John Dillinger impersonation? Who knows? Being a top one per-center in academics, looks, ambition, athletics, and personality; maybe it was an attempt to be bad at something.