Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mr. Holt

This is the last call-out for any of my High School teachers (last names: one “G” and three “H’s” – must be some significance in that). I liked Mr. Holt because could dish it out as well as take it. He could be a master put-down artist when he chose to be, as attested by the tagline in my yearbook.

One class I had with Mr. Holt contained a fair number of the school toughs (or JDs, or whatever term you’d like). These were the proverbial wise-guys who talked endlessly about superchargers, rebuilt transmissions, and their weekend drinking escapades. Mr. Holt was well up to the challenge presented by this group and never lost control of the class sessions even through the frequent back and forth flying volleys of barbs and mock insults.

But one day during a classroom back-and-forth exchange, one of the toughest of the toughs suddenly got serious and asked Mr. Holt, “So what would you do if your parents said you were leaving home as soon as you turned 18?” I was dumbfounded to see that all wise-guy pretenses were gone as he explained solemnly that his parents were kicking him out of home soon, even before he finished high school – 18 and that’s it; that’s all we owe you. End of story. I honestly don’t recall anything specific that Mt. Holt said to our classmate, only that it was transmitted with sensitivity and empathy and left us now-pensive bunch of teens with a mini lesson in relationship building and adult conversations. An interesting class that day.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Teaching is one of those things that is in one sense is easy to do - stay on topic and get to the end of the day, but very difficult to do well. This is a good example why. You have to be ready to handle "movie" moments - because they actually do occur in real life - without losing focus of what your real job is.