My Favorite History Teacher

by Steven

My favorite teacher in high school was Mr. Potter. I took a number of classes with him, throughout high school. I loved the fact that he made history come alive.

For example, when we were learning about the Henry who had multiple wives, he had someone come up in front of the class and parodied the way Henry evaluated one of his potentials.

He was talking once about the French, and I can still see him walking across the classroom like he was carrying a huge baguette on his shoulder--just like he saw when he was in France.

He also was the one who got me hooked on treasure-hunting. For example, he told me about how he saw this old coverall, but when he found out it was worth a fortune and went back, it was gone. I never thought about it before, but that helped inspire me to search for old and valuable things--particularly books. I love it when I find something that's worth a lot of money.

He taught me that, in war, soldiers don't fight for their country or some just cause, they fight for the men beside them. I've never forgotten that; I even wrote a poem about it, and it helps me understand why Al-Qaida fighters do what they do. They're fighting because people they know are dying, because of us.

He is also the reason I have somewhat ambiguous feelings about war. I'm against it, intellectually, except in the case of just war like WWII, but somehow he made it seem, well, exciting. Maybe it's because I associate war-related topics with him, and the camaraderie he described, instead of blood and guts and dying. This is not necessarily a good thing. But it shows what a positive impact he had on me. He's what I miss most about high school.

It makes me think that becoming a history teacher would make an interesting career. Teachers really do influence the next generation, whether for good or for bad.

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