As I have made clear in the past, I wasn’t big on school when I was a kid. I loved learning, I just disliked the institutional nature of the process – that is classes and teachers. Consequently, smart as I was (I’m not bragging, I knew I was smart, even back then) I idled a lot of my time in those nasty smelling classrooms.
But then I met a teacher who brought it all back to me. A ‘master’ teacher who made me not only love learning, but also one whom I came to emulate to the degree that I too became a teacher due to his inspiration.
He was my world history teacher in Grade 13 – yes, senior matric still existed in my day, and it still should in my esteem – so his subject material was right up my alley. Eventually I too came to teach the same course and used him as a kind of eminence gris in my teaching process.
His name was Laurie Lynds (and I see no problem in mentioning it here) and he was to me and many others a kind of renaissance man. Aside from his academic prowess as a history and social studies teacher, he was also a master theatrical producer and the annual productions of his school, Burnaby South, could virtually have been mounted on the Broadway stage, so good were they.
Anyway, he and I rather bonded in a manner of speaking. I loved the material and his approach. I looked forward to the classes. One student snidely commented to me one day: “I don’t know why I bother going to the class since it’s mainly you and Mr. Lynds talking to each other.” It was certainly a unique experience for me to be so pumped by classroom time, and I owe much of that to him.
Many years later Laurie was in town here for a little theatre summer session and my then wife and I invited him and his wife to dinner. It was a delightful evening and such a joy to greet him as a peer. A high point of my life that I have never forgotten.