Teachers guide in teamwork, time management, more

  • Published
  • By Col. Thomas Roshetko
  • 92nd Medical Group Commander
In any given school year, a teacher spends more time with a student than anyone but the pupil's family. The responsibility bestowed on these educators far exceeds learning math and science. In the midst of extolling the virtues of long division and the last words of Nathan Hale, teachers guide training in teamwork, time management, critical thinking, encouragement, trial & error, constructive criticism and meritocracy.
     Long after we have forgotten the value of the Kreb Cycle and the problem with dangling participles we will remember how Mrs. Crabtree made the classroom a happy place, how Mr. Holland encouraged us and how Mr. Chips taught us the love of learning.
I personally had many Crabtrees, Hollands and Chips in my private and public schooling. The four most prominent were named Powers, Demo, Joniak and Grothaus. They made my life better.
    Agnes Powers, 5th Grade, Ascension School, 1970-71. My school broke 5th grade into three student groups, the A, B and C students. I fell into the B group, yet showed a lot of promise. She noted my effort and made a special provision to move me up to the A class for math and english, the only B student permitted to do so. She also pushed my name to be the first altar reader, an honor normally bestowed on the A students. In addition, she took time to tell/lecture me about working harder and focusing. The next three years of elementary school, I was in the A class.
     Tom Demo, 9th Grade, Clara Westropp Junior High School, 1974-75. He was my Physical Education teacher and took more chances than any teacher I ever met. We played the craziest gym games that involved climbing folded up bleachers, swinging from the backboards, jumping off the stage and constantly throwing balls at each other. We laughed everyday in gym while working up intense exercise. In the spring, he conducted a six-week running course. This occurred before America's running craze hit. He built us up from a quarter mile to three miles and allowed us to run through the local neighborhoods and into the state park. He taught me to love running; thirty-six years later it remains a passion.
     Pete Joniak, 10th Grade, John Marshall High School, 1975-76, He was my American History teacher. He expanded my interest in the presidents to a broad exposure of the executive powers, the legislature and the court system. In one project, we scoured several weeks of the Cleveland newspapers and applied each article about business, politics or crimes to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the amendments. He tied it all together and conveyed the awesome story of America. Learning this during the United States Bicentennial year made his teaching even more poignant.
     Kay Grothaus, Junior Year, Medical College of Ohio, 1984. She was my Mental Health Clinical instructor. She changed us from thinking about isolated diseases and treatment into caring for the whole person. She led us to understand the power of the mind and its overwhelming influence on our health. She demonstrated that psychiatric illness required medical care on par with any disease or injury. Most importantly, she made us realize, that every patient had a mental health approach to their medical condition and the wise clinician would understand and incorporate that into all clinical care. 
     Even as I write this I close my eyes and return to their classrooms. I know where I sat. I can see them looking at me. I can hear their voice. I can feel my mind expanding. They are all very good memories.
     And this was only four of them. In all I have spent 28 years in schooling. In all I have had more than 75 instructors. A few were bad. Most were great. Though I finished their courses long ago, their influence and teachings continue to shape me. I am humbled by their dedication. I am grateful for their effort. I am very fortunate to have called them "my teacher."