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The critical role of an outstanding teacher

S. A. Modena samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Tue Jan 19 17:01:57 EST 1993

In article <9301191621.AA05873 at net.bio.net> BTGOUGH at LSUVM.BITNET (laura gough) writes:
>i wonder how many people out there can link their careers in science to one
>encouraging teacher, somewhere along the way....

By high school I was fascinated by the physical sciences and was a ham
radio operator communicating with people in other countries.

Then I took sophomore year high school Biology with Leocadia Baronowski.
Pull down charts, hand-made models, hands-on dissections, slides, microscopy,
plants, animals: a fearsome amount of diverse information made understandable
by an intelligent, *outspoken*, encouraging teacher.  I did well.

One day as I Junior, I asked if I could bring in some mill pond samples
to look at under the microscope.  She told me a time to come in during
the afternoon.  Our high school had gone to split days, with Freshmen
attending in the afternoon.

As I played with the fresh water crustaecea, contemplating "what is the
essense of the life force" versus "what is g-d?"....I was distracted by
Miss Baronowski's *facinating* Ancient History lecture to the freshmen.

After that class was dismissed, I asked her why she was teaching Ancient
History?  Split shifts: double duty.  But you seem to be teaching it as
well as you do Biology?  Yes, her B.A. had been in Ancient History, plus
she had previously taught the (State mandated) Problems in American
Government for a couple of decades.  But how did you learn so much
Biology?  Summer short courses every year wherever there for a small
grant to be had for a high school teacher to stay up-to-date.

So 30+ years later, I can only recall two or three teachers of her
equal (at any institution).

But I didn't become a scientist (or a biologist), because of Leocadia:
that had already been determined in my mind.  Rather I became a
diversified self-taught intellect, in her image.

|     In person:  Steve Modena     AB4EL                           |
|     On phone:   (919) 515-5328                                   |
|     At e-mail:  nmodena at unity.ncsu.edu                           | 
|                 samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu                |
|                 [ either email address is read each day ]        |
|     By snail:   Crop Sci Dept, Box 7620, NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27695 |
         Lighten UP!  It's just a computer doing that to you.    (c)

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