Darlene Scally's Learning Story


Eleventh grade was the year that I had the two best teachers. One was a history teacher, Mr O’Donnell. He started off each topic with a detailed story that made history come alive. He managed to put us in the room with the historical characters he told us about. Sometimes his stories were from the point of view of anonymous people who were part of the crowd and other times they were from the perspective of the people making history. Describing an average morning in the life of Abraham Lincoln or Helen Keller gave his students a common ground to connect with historical figures, making them seem more like real people. The other great teacher I had that year was Mr Torres. He was an English teacher and also taught a Creative Writing class and I was lucky enough to be in both classes. He made us all feel like he trusted us to do well and act like adults in his class. Unlike many of the teachers at that level who seemed obsessed with classroom rules to cover every aspect of their class, Mr Torres had very few spelled out rules but by having a lack of rules he gave us the freedom to act as responsible members of his class. We didn’t disappoint him. From my experience in his class I learned that applying too many rules can sometimes backfire and make students feel that they aren’t trusted or respected by their teacher.